Objective: Luteinizing hormone (LH) pulse characteristics in depressed and normal women were compared to determine whether hypothalamic dysregulation in depression extends to the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis.
Method: The subjects were 10 depressed and 13 normal comparison women admitted to a clinical research center. For each woman, an intravenous line was started and blood was withdrawn every 10 minutes for 8 hours. Blood samples were assayed for LH and LH pulse characteristics determined by using the computerized cluster algorithm of Veldhuis and Johnson.
Results: The depressed women differed significantly from the comparison women in LH pulse amplitude, rhythmicity, and area under the curve.
Conclusions: Major depressive disorder is associated with abnormal regulation of luteinizing hormone. Gonadotropin regulation may provide a hormonal link between major depressive disorder and impaired fertility.