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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Serotonergic function in mothers of opioid addicts: correlation with comorbid depression.

The serotonergic (5-HT) function of 36 mothers of heroin addicts, of whom 16 subjects were without psychopathological features (group A) and 20 subjects had major depressive disorders (group B), as well as 10 age- and sex-matched healthy controls, was examined by L-D-fenfluramine stimulation of secretion of prolactin ( PRL) and cortisol. The subjects' addict relatives were also tested for personality features and hormonal responses to L-D-fenfluramine. The PRL and cortisol responses to the stimulus were normal in mothers of group A, and blunted in mothers of group B. A high frequency (70%) of heroin addicts with comorbid depression was found among the sons of group B mothers. The sons of depressed mothers showed reduced PRL and cortisol responses to fenfluramine. A significant direct correlation has been demonstrated between the PRL areas under curves (AUC) of mothers and sons in response to the 5-HT agonist. Our data suggest that genetic 5-HT impairment is not involved in the pathogenesis of heroin addiction or codependence per se, and is probably linked to the presence of familial depression in comorbidity with the addictive disorder.[1]


  1. Serotonergic function in mothers of opioid addicts: correlation with comorbid depression. Gerra, G., Caccavari, R., Zaimovic, A., Palladino, M., Chittolini, B., Giucastro, G., Maestri, D., Monica, C., Fertonani-Affini, G., Delsignore, R., Brambilla, F. Acta psychiatrica Scandinavica. (1997) [Pubmed]
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