Vasopressin as a target for antidepressant development: an assessment of the available evidence.
AffiliationDepartment of Psychiatry, Cork University Hospital, Cork, Ireland., firstname.lastname@example.org
MeSHAdrenocorticotropic Hormone/cerebrospinal fluid/drug effects/metabolism
Antidepressive Agents/*pharmacology/*therapeutic use
Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone/cerebrospinal fluid/drug effects/metabolism
Depressive Disorder, Major/cerebrospinal fluid/*drug therapy/physiopathology
Hypothalamo-Hypophyseal System/drug effects/metabolism/physiopathology
Pituitary-Adrenal System/drug effects/metabolism/physiopathology
Receptors, Vasopressin/drug effects
Vasopressins/cerebrospinal fluid/*drug effects/*metabolism
MetadataShow full item record
CitationJ Affect Disord. 2002 Nov;72(2):113-24.
JournalJournal of affective disorders
AbstractHyperactivity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis is one of the key biological abnormalities described in major depressive disorder, occurring in 30-50% of depressed subjects. Corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) and vasopressin (AVP) are the main regulators of this stress system, with the two neuropeptides acting synergistically in bringing about adrenocorticotropin (ACTH) release from the anterior pituitary and cortisol from the adrenal gland. Based on the demonstration of elevated cerebrospinal fluid levels of CRH in depressives, and other evidence, it has been postulated that excess CRH and the resultant increased HPA forward drive form the basis of neuroendocrine dysregulation in depression. However, there is an accumulating body of evidence to support a significant role for AVP in the regulation of pituitary-adrenal activity in health and also in depressive disorder. This review, based on a Medline search from 1980 to 2001, focuses on the functional neuroanatomy, receptor pharmacology, VP synergism with CRH, and the data from clinical and pre-clinical studies that support an important role for AVP in the pathophysiology of major depression. We suggest that future antidepressants may target the vasopressinergic system.