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Effects of rapid tryptophan depletion on brain 5-HT2 receptors: a PET study

  • Lakshmi N. Yatham (a1), Peter F. Liddle (a2), I-Shin Shiah (a3), Raymond W. Lam (a1), Michael J. Adam (a4), Athanasios P. Zis (a1) and Thomas J. Ruth (a5)...

Abstract

Background

The mechanism by which rapid tryptophan depletion (RTD) paradigm induces depressive relapse in recently remitted patients with depression is unknown.

Aims

To determine the effects of RTD on brain 5-HT2 receptors using positron emission tomography (PET) and 18F-labelled setoperone.

Method

Ten healthy women underwent two PET scans. Each scan was done 5 h after the ingestion of either a balanced or a tryptophan-deficient amino acid mixture, and the two test sessions were separated by at least 5 days.

Results

The RTD decreased plasma free tryptophan levels significantly but it had no significant effects on mood. Subjects showed a significant decrease in brain 5-HT2 receptor binding in various cortical regions following the RTD session.

Conclusions

When taken with the evidence that antidepressant treatment is associated with a decrease in brain 5-HT2 receptors, these findings suggest that a decrease in 5-HT2 binding following RTD might be an adaptive response that provides protection against depressive symptoms.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

Lakshmi N. Yatham, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Director of Mood Disorders Clinical Research Unit, The University of British Columbia, 2255 Wesbrook Mall, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 2A1. Tel: 1 604 822 0562; Fax: 1 604 822 7922; e-mail: yatham@unixg.ubc.ca

Footnotes

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Declaration of interest

None.

Footnotes

References

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Effects of rapid tryptophan depletion on brain 5-HT2 receptors: a PET study

  • Lakshmi N. Yatham (a1), Peter F. Liddle (a2), I-Shin Shiah (a3), Raymond W. Lam (a1), Michael J. Adam (a4), Athanasios P. Zis (a1) and Thomas J. Ruth (a5)...
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