Major depression is associated with a dysfunction of the serotonergic activity and the hypothalamic-pituitary- adrenal (HPA) axis. Moreover, a reciprocal relationship between the serotonergic and HPA axis systems has been hypothesized. The purpose of the present study was to assess the relationship between sensitivity of 5-HT1A receptors as measured by hormonal (ACTH, cortisol and PRL) and temperature responses to flesinoxan and HPA axis activity as measured by the dexamethasone suppression test. The sample included 21 inpatients with major depression. Dexamethasone nonsuppressors exhibited lower ACTH responses to flesinoxan as compared with dexamethasone suppressors. The results showed that a dysfunction in 5-HT1A receptor activity could be due to a hypersecretion of cortisol.

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