Skip to main content

A retrospective and explorative study of hypokalemia in psychiatric disorders: a beta2-receptor related phenomenon

Summary

Since the serum potassium level is under beta2-adrenergic influence, we studied serum potassium values on admission in psychiatric patients. Data are reported on 683 patients from nine major diagnostic groups. Among these nine groups significant differences were found concerning the mean serum potassium level and incidence of hypokalemia. Significant differences existed between the alcohol withdrawal and attempted suicide groups compared to the dysthymic, bipolar manic, schizophrenic and nonschizophrenic psychosis groups. Like alcohol withdrawal, attempted suicide is assumed to be a hyper-adrenergic state. Although the relative contribution of factors like nutritional state, aldosterone, insulin, and beta2-receptor density or sensitivity is unclear, the catecholamine-potassium relationship deserves further study.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. 1.

    Berger M, Krieg C, Bossert S (1986) Research strategies on the HPA-axis in psychiatry during the last two decades with special emphasis on the Dexamethasone Suppression Test. Scientific Meeting “Biological Measures, their theoretical and diagnostic value in psychiatry”. Noordwijk, September 10–11, 1986

  2. 2.

    Brown MJ, Murphy MB (1984) Hypokalemia from beta2-receptor stimulation by epinephrine. N Engl J Med 310:1331

    Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Brown MJ, Brown DC, Murphy MB (1985) Hypokalemia from beta2-receptor stimulation by circulating epinephrine. N Engl J Med 309:1414–1419

    Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Conci F, Procaccio F, Boselli L (1984) Hypokalemia from beta2-receptor stimulation by epinephrine. N Engl J Med 310:1329

    Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Cookson JC, Silverstone T, Besser GM, Williams S (1980) Plasma corticosteroids in mania: the effects of pimozide. Neuropharmacology 19:1243–1244

    Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Dimsdale JE, Moss J (1980) Short-term catecholamine response to psychological stress. Psychosom Med 42:493–497

    Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Editorial (1983) adrenaline and potassium: everything in flux. Lancet II:1401–1403

  8. 8.

    Editorial (1983) adrenergic control of serum potassium. N Engl J Med 309:1450–1451

    Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Grof E, Brown GM, Grof P, Van Loon GR (1986) Effects of lithium administration on plasma catecholamines. Psychol Res 19:87–92

    Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Hawley RJ, Major LF, Schulman EA, Linnoila M (1985) Cerebrospinal fluid 3-methoxy-4-hydroxyphenylglycol and norepinephrine levels in alcohol withdrawal. Arch Gen Psychiatry 42:1056–1062

    Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    Hokin-Neaverson M, Spiegel DA, Lewis WC, Burckhardt WA, Jefferson JW (1976) Erythrocyte sodium pump activity in different psychiatric disorders. Res Commun Psychol Psych Behav 1:391–403

    Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    Johnson FN (1980) Handbook of lithium therapy, 1st edition. MTP Press Limited, Lancaster

    Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    Karlsberg RP, Cryer PE, Roberts R (1981) Serial plasma catecholamine response early in the course of clinical acute myocardial infarction. Am Heart J 102:24–29

    Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    Krapf R (1985) Kaliumregulation. Neuere Erkenntnisse aus klinischer Sicht. Schweiz Med Wochenschr 115:606–613

    Google Scholar 

  15. 15.

    Manhem P, Nilsson LH, Moberg AL, Wadstein J, Hökfelt B (1984) Hypokalaemia in alcohol withdrawal caused by high circulating adrenaline levels. Lancet I:679

    Google Scholar 

  16. 16.

    Morgan DB, Young RM (1982) Acute transient hypokalemia: new interpretation of a common event. Lancet II:751–752

    Google Scholar 

  17. 17.

    Oei TI, Zwarts FM, Verhoeven WMA, Westenberg HGM (1986) Biological markers in depression. Scientific Meeting “Biological measures, their theoretical and diagnostic value in psychiatry”. Noordwijk, September 10–11, 1986

  18. 18.

    Opstad PK, Øktedalen O, Aakvaag A (1985) Plasma renin activity and serum aldosterone during prolonged physical strain. Eur J Appl Physiol 540:1–6

    Google Scholar 

  19. 19.

    Wadstein J. Skude G (1978) Does hypokalemia precede delirium tremens? Lancet II:549–550

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to C. J. F. Kemperman.

Additional information

An abstract of this study will be published as a letter to the editor in the J Clin Psychiatr

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Kemperman, C.J.F., Kuilman, M. & Njio, L.K.F. A retrospective and explorative study of hypokalemia in psychiatric disorders: a beta2-receptor related phenomenon. Eur Arch Psychiatr Neurol Sci 237, 161–165 (1988). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00451284

Download citation

Key words

  • Potassium
  • Stress
  • Psychiatric disorders
  • Hypokalemia