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. 1990 Nov;20(3):185-91.
doi: 10.1016/0165-0327(90)90143-v.

Decreased Plasma Tryptophan Concentration in Major Depression: Relationship to Melancholia and Weight Loss

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Decreased Plasma Tryptophan Concentration in Major Depression: Relationship to Melancholia and Weight Loss

I M Anderson et al. J Affect Disord. .

Abstract

Plasma total tryptophan (TRP) concentration was significantly lower in 31 patients with major depression compared to a healthy control group. The ratio of plasma TRP concentration to that of other branch chain amino acids (the TRP:BCAA ratio) was also decreased. Further analysis revealed that the decrease in plasma TRP and TRP:BCAA ratio was most apparent in patients with major depression and melancholia. Overall, women but not men had significantly decreased plasma tryptophan concentrations, perhaps because of a contributory effect of weight loss; this latter effect, however, could not be distinguished clearly from a diagnosis of melancholia. Our data suggest that in some depressed patients, reductions in plasma tryptophan availability may contribute to abnormalities in brain 5-hydroxytryptamine function.

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