Dexamethasone Suppression Test (DST) studies conducted in children and adolescents are reviewed, together with factors hypothesized to explain discrepancies in rates of DST nonsuppression across studies. These factors are then examined in a controlled study of 27 adolescents with major depressive disorder (MDD) and 34 normal controls (NC). subjects were given 1 mg of dexamethasone at 11:00 pm, and the following day serum samples for cortisol were collected each hr from 8 am to 11 pm through an indwelling catheter. There were no significant differences found between the MDD and NC subjects on any postdexamethasone cortisol measure. Further, cortisol suppressors and nonsuppressors were not distinguished by any of the hypothesized factors identified from the review, including inpatient status, presence of suicidality, endogenous features, psychotic symptoms, or prior history of MDD. Questions about the appropriateness of the 1 mg dose of dexamethasone (currently the standard dose used with adolescents) are raised, together with a discussion of the effects of stress on DST findings.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biological Psychiatry