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Psychopharmacology

, Volume 167, Issue 1, pp 72–78 | Cite as

5-HT2A receptor binding is reduced in drug-naive and unchanged in SSRI-responder depressed patients compared to healthy controls: a PET study

  • Cristina MessaEmail author
  • Cristina Colombo
  • Rosa Maria Moresco
  • Clara Gobbo
  • Laura Galli
  • Giovanni Lucignani
  • Maria Carla Gilardi
  • Giovanna Rizzo
  • Enrico Smeraldi
  • Raffaella Zanardi
  • Francesc Artigas
  • Ferruccio Fazio
Original Investigation

Abstract

Objective

The aim of the study was to investigate differences in 5-HT2A receptor binding between healthy volunteers and patients with major depressive disorder (MDD), either never treated before with antidepressants (drug-naive: DN) or responding to paroxetine treatment (drug-treated: DT).

Methods

Nineteen DN patients with MDD and 15 euthymic DT (paroxetine 4 weeks) patients were compared with a group of 20 healthy controls (C) with positron emission tomography (PET) using [18F]fluoroethylspiperone ([18F]FESP), a 5-HT2A and D2 receptor antagonist. A "binding index" (BI) of [18F]FESP to cortical and basal ganglia regions was calculated as the ratio of the activity in these regions to that of cerebellum. Differences in BI between groups, i.e. C versus DN or DT, were assessed by ANOVA, with or without age as covariate (ANCOVA).

Results

A significant reduction in BI (P=0.003 ANOVA, P=0.001 ANCOVA) was found in DN patients in the frontal, occipital, temporal and cingulate cortices, but not in the striatum. No significant differences emerged between C and DT patients.

Conclusions

The reduction of [18F]FESP BI in cortical areas of DN depressed, but not of euthymic DT patients suggests an association between the occurrence of depressive symptoms and impairment of cortical 5-HT2A receptors. [18F]FESP cortical BI may represent a state marker of depression.

Keywords

Major depression Serotonin receptors Emission tomography Antidepressant 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors wish to thank Dr. Francesco Perugini, Mr. Giuseppe Striano, Mrs. Carmen Nichetti and Mrs. Lorena Bonaldi for their help in the study and Professor P.M. Grasby for useful advise and discussion. Grant supporting: Fondo de Investigatión Sanitaria 98/697 (professor Artigas).

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cristina Messa
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • Cristina Colombo
    • 1
  • Rosa Maria Moresco
    • 1
  • Clara Gobbo
    • 1
  • Laura Galli
    • 1
  • Giovanni Lucignani
    • 1
  • Maria Carla Gilardi
    • 1
  • Giovanna Rizzo
    • 1
  • Enrico Smeraldi
    • 1
  • Raffaella Zanardi
    • 1
  • Francesc Artigas
    • 2
  • Ferruccio Fazio
    • 1
  1. 1.CNR Institute of Molecular Imaging and Physiology, Istituto Scientifico S. RaffaeleUniversity of Milan-Bicocca, University of MilanMilanItaly
  2. 2.Department of NeurochemistryInsituto de Investigaciones Biomedicas de Barcelona, CSIC-IDIBAPSBarcelonaSpain
  3. 3.Medicina NucleareIstituto H San RaffaeleMilanoItaly

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