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Comparative antidepressant effects of intravenous and intrathecal thyrotropin-releasing hormone: confounding effects of tolerance and implications for therapeutics.

Author(s): Callahan AM, Frye MA, Marangell LB, George MS, Ketter TA, L'Herrou T, Post RM

Affiliation(s): Biological Psychiatry Branch, National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892-1272, USA.

Publication date & source: 1997-02-01, Biol Psychiatry., 41(3):264-72.

Publication type: Case Reports; Clinical Trial; Randomized Controlled Trial

A significant amount of preclinical and human data indicate that thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) has antidepressant effects. Although early studies showing these effects using intravenous TRH were not consistently replicated, it has been suggested that this could be explained by its poor blood-brain barrier penetration. For this reason we compared the antidepressant effect of intrathecal and intravenous TRH administered in a double-blind design to 2 treatment-refractory patients with bipolar II disorder. Each experienced a robust antidepressant response by both routes; subsequent open trials of intravenous TRH also were effective until apparent tolerance developed. Intrathecal TRH was readministered and both subjects again experienced robust antidepressant responses. These preliminary data suggest a differential mechanism of tolerance to the two routes of administration and raise the possibility that a subgroup of patients may be responsive to the antidepressant effects of TRH independent of its route of administration.

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