Feb 23, 2010

The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and serotonin abnormalities: a selective overview for the implications of suicide prevention

European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience
Maurizio PompiliDavid Lester


Suicidal behavior and mood disorders are one of the world's largest public health problems. The biological vulnerability for these problems includes genetic factors involved in the regulation of the serotonergic system and stress system. The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis is a neuroendocrine system that regulates the body's response to stress and has complex interactions with brain serotonergic, noradrenergic and dopaminergic systems. Corticotropin-releasing hormone and vasopressin act synergistically to stimulate the secretion of ACTH that stimulates the biosynthesis of corticosteroids such as cortisol from cholesterol. Cortisol is a major stress hormone and has effects on many tissues, including on mineralocorticoid receptors and glucocorticoid receptors in the brain. Glucocorticoids produce behavioral changes, and one important target of glucocorticoids is the hypothalamus, which is a major controlling center of the HPA axis. Stress plays a major role in the various pathophysiological processes associated with mood disorders and suicidal behavior. Serotonergic dysfunction is a well-established substrate for mood disorders and suicidal behavior. Corticosteroids may play an important role in the relationship between...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Biological Adaptation to Stress
Glucocorticoid inhalants for obstructive airway disease
Serotonin Measurement
Congenital Neurologic Anomalies
POMC wt Allele
Antidiuretic Hormone Measurement
Pituitary Diseases

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