In a recent study (Tafet, Toister-Achituv, & Shinitzky, 2001), we demonstrated that cortisol induces an increase in the expression of the gene coding for the serotonin transporter, associated with a subsequent elevation in the uptake of serotonin. This stimulatory effect, produced upon incubation with cortisol in vitro, was observed in peripheral blood lymphocytes from normal subjects. In the present work we investigated the cortisol-induced increase in serotonin uptake in lymphocytes from hypercortisolemic patients, including subjects with major depressive disorder (n = 8), and subjects with generalized anxiety disorder (n = 12), in comparison with a control group of normal healthy subjects (n = 8). A significant increase in serotonin uptake (+37% + 14, M + SD) was observed in the control group, whereas neither the generalized anxiety disorder nor the major depression group exhibited changes in serotonin uptake upon incubation with cortisol. It is likely that under chronic stress or depression, the capacity for increase in serotonin transporter has reached its limit due to the chronically elevated blood cortisol level. The physiological and diagnostic implications of this observation are discussed.