Complex effects of age and gender on hypothermic, adrenocorticotrophic hormone and cortisol responses to ipsapirone challenge in normal subjects
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- Gelfin, Y., Lerer, B., Lesch, K.P. et al. Psychopharmacology (1995) 120: 356. doi:10.1007/BF02311184
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The effects of a challenge dose of the 5-HT1A agonist, ipsapirone (0.3 mg per kg body weight), or placebo on body temperature and on adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH) and cortisol release, were examined in 30 normal subjects (14 males, 19–74 years and 16 females, 22–69 years) using a randomized, double blind design. Irrespective of age or gender, ipsapirone induced a significant reduction in body temperature relative to placebo and a significant increase in ACTH and cortisol release. Maximal temperature reduction by ipsapirone was significantly blunted in older subjects and was inversely related to age. There was no gender difference in the hypothermic response to ipsapirone. ACTH and cortisol responses showed an opposite impact of aging in males and females. Whereas both responses diminished with age in male subjects, they increased with age in females. The cortisol response of older females was significantly larger than that of all the other subjects. Adverse effects of ipsapirone were also more marked in elderly females and were correlated with ACTH and cortisol responses. These findings should be taken into consideration in the use of ipsapirone and other 5-HT1A agonists as challenge procedures for studying central serotonergic function in depression and other disorders. Careful matching of control and experimental subjects is indicated so as to avoid spurious results which reflect the effects of age and gender rather than the pathophysiology of the disorders being investigated.