The corticotropin-releasing hormone challenge in depressed abused, depressed nonabused, and normal control children

Joan Kaufman, Boris Birmaher, James Perel, Ronald E. Dahl, Paula Moreci, Beverly Nelson, William Wells, Neal D. Ryan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis disturbances in depressed children with a history of abuse were examined. Thirteen depressed abused, 13 depressed nonabused, and 13 normal control children were given 1.0 μg/kg of human corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) intravenously. Blood samples for corticotropin (ACTH) and cortisol were obtained at nine intervals. When compared to depressed nonabused and normal control children, depressed abused children had significantly greater peak, total and net ACTH secretion post- CRH. Increased ACTH secretion was only observed in depressed abused children experiencing ongoing chronic adversity (marital violence, emotional abuse, poverty, lack of supports). The pattern of findings of the depressed abused children experiencing ongoing adversity parallels the pattern of HPA axis dysregulation reported in animal studies of chronic stress. They add to a growing body of literature suggesting measures of past trauma and current adversity are important sources of variability in psychobiological correlates of major depression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)669-679
Number of pages11
JournalBiological psychiatry
Volume42
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 15 1997
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Child abuse
  • Child depression
  • Corticotropin
  • Cortisol

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biological Psychiatry

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