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Beckenham, United Kingdom

Ouellet-Morin I.,Kings College London | Ouellet-Morin I.,University of Montreal | Wong C.C.Y.,Kings College London | Danese A.,Kings College London | And 5 more authors.
Psychological Medicine

Background Childhood adverse experiences are known to induce persistent changes in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis reactivity to stress. However, the mechanisms by which these experiences shape the neuroendocrine response to stress remain unclear. Method We tested whether bullying victimization influenced serotonin transporter gene (SERT) DNA methylation using a discordant monozygotic (MZ) twin design. A subsample of 28 MZ twin pairs discordant for bullying victimization, with data on cortisol and DNA methylation, were identified in the Environmental Risk (E-Risk) Longitudinal Twin Study, a nationally representative 1994-1995 cohort of families with twins. Results Bullied twins had higher SERT DNA methylation at the age of 10 years compared with their non-bullied MZ co-twins. This group difference cannot be attributed to the children's genetic makeup or their shared familial environments because of the study design. Bullied twins also showed increasing methylation levels between the age of 5 years, prior to bullying victimization, and the age of 10 years whereas no such increase was detected in non-bullied twins across time. Moreover, children with higher SERT methylation levels had blunted cortisol responses to stress. Conclusions Our study extends findings drawn from animal models, supports the hypothesis that early-life stress modifies DNA methylation at a specific cytosine-phosphate-guanine (CpG) site in the SERT promoter and HPA functioning and suggests that these two systems may be functionally associated. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2012. Source

Juruena M.F.,Kings College London | Juruena M.F.,Affective Disorders Unit Laboratory | Juruena M.F.,University of Sao Paulo | Pariante C.M.,Kings College London | And 5 more authors.
Journal of Psychopharmacology

Background: Treatment-resistant depression patients show both reduced glucocorticoid receptor function and a hyperactive hypothalamic-pituitaryadrenal axis. However, few studies have examined the role of the mineralocorticoid receptor. This study aimed to evaluate the functional activity of the mineralocorticoid receptor system in regulating the hypothalamic-pituitary- adrenal axis in well-defined treatment-resistant depression patients. Material and method: We recruited 24 subjects divided into: (a) treatment-resistant depression; (b) healthy controls. We evaluated: (a) the effect of combined glucocorticoid receptor/mineralocorticoid receptor stimulation with prednisolone; (b) the effect of prednisolone with the mineralocorticoid receptor antagonist spironolactone; and (c) the effect of spironolactone alone. The response of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis was measured using salivary cortisol and plasma levels of drugs were also measured. Results: Treatment-resistant depression patients had higher cortisol compared with controls after all challenges. In controls, spironolactone increased cortisol compared to placebo. The co-administration of spironolactone with prednisolone in controls decreases the suppressive effects of prednisolone. In contrast, in treatment-resistant depression, spironolactone did not increase cortisol compared to placebo and spironolactone with prednisolone had no effect on the suppressive effects of prednisolone. Patients with treatment-resistant depression had a reduction in the conversation of spironolactone to the active metabolite canrenone. Conclusion: Our data confirmed that treatment-resistant depression is associated with hypercortisolism and these patients no longer show an hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal response to the administration of a mineralocorticoid receptor antagonist, suggesting that there is a mineralocorticoid receptor malfunctioning, such as a down regulation, however, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics in these subjects could also have had an effect on the lack of mineralocorticoid receptor response. © The Author(s) 2013. Source

Juruena M.F.,Kings College London | Juruena M.F.,Affective Disorders Unit Laboratory | Juruena M.F.,University of Sao Paulo | Cleare A.J.,Kings College London | And 7 more authors.

Depressed patients have reduced glucocorticoid receptor (GR) function, as demonstrated by resistance to the suppressive effects of the synthetic glucocorticoid hormone, and GR agonist, dexamethasone. We have developed a suppressive test with prednisolone, a synthetic glucocorticoid that is similar to cortisol in its pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics, and binds to both the GR and the mineralocorticoid receptor (MR). We have found that depressed patients suppress normally to prednisolone, unless they are particularly non-responsive to treatment. In the present study, we evaluated 28 inpatients with treatment-resistant depression (TRD), and compared salivary cortisol secretion (at 0900. h, 1200. h and 1700. h) after placebo or after prednisolone (5. mg), before and after an inpatient treatment admission. Half of the patients (n=14) reached treatment response. When comparing the assessment between admission and discharge, cortisol output after placebo fell (-26% of area under the curve; p=0.024) while the output after prednisolone did not change. Moreover, there was no change in the response to prednisolone (percentage suppression) between admission at discharge, and this was not influenced by treatment response. Finally, we could confirm and extend our previously published data with prednisolone (5. mg), showing that depressed patients (n=12) and controls (n=12) suppressed equally to both 5 and 10. mg doses of prednisolone. This study suggests that the response to prednisolone is similar in depressed patients and controls at different doses of prednisolone, and does not change with symptomatic improvement. This is in contrast with findings, from us and others, using other measures of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis function, such as basal cortisol levels or the response to dexamethasone. Thus, we propose that the prednisolone suppression test may offer specific biological and clinical information, related to its action at both the GR and the MR. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. Source

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