Biological markers for major depressive disorder in children and adolescents
Engelbrecht, Albertus Hermanus
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Child psychiatrists have become increasingly aware of the existence. of affective disorders in prepubertal and pubertal patients. This has led to the investigation of possible biological factors contributing to the disorders. Due to the lack of availability of human brain material, different parameters have been investigated in the periphery in order to obtain information regarding the aetiology of major depressive disorder. The neurotransmitters, NA, 5-HT and DA have been implicated in depression. Levels of the metabolites of these transmitters have been measured in plasma, urine and CSF of adult depressed patients. Two other peripheral "tools" used in the study of major depressive disorder are blood platelets and lymphocytes. The former contain cr 2 -adrenoceptors and imipramine binding sites (indicative of 5-HT uptake into the platelet) and the latter S-adrenoceptors. Platelets have been widely used as a model for indirectly evaluating changes in central cr2-adrenoceptor and imipramine binding whereas lymphocytes have been used to measure changes in S-adrenoceptor binding and activity in adults with major depressive disorder.