Depression, stress and the adrenal axis

J Neuroendocrinol. 2003 Aug;15(8):811-2. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2826.2003.01058.x.


Depression is characterized by an over activity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis that resembles the neuroendocrine response to stress. These HPA axis abnormalities participate in the development of depressive symptoms. Moreover, antidepressants directly regulate HPA axis function. These novel findings are reshaping our understanding of the causes and treatment of this disabling disorder.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Depression / physiopathology*
  • Hypothalamo-Hypophyseal System / physiology*
  • Pituitary-Adrenal System / physiology*
  • Stress, Physiological / physiopathology*