Electroconvulsive therapy increases circadian amplitude and lowers core body temperature in depressed subjects

Biol Psychiatry. 1997 Dec 15;42(12):1130-7. doi: 10.1016/s0006-3223(97)00046-2.


Background: Reduced amplitude of the circadian temperature rhythm and elevated nocturnal body temperature normalize after successful pharmacotherapy of major depression.

Methods: Core body temperature was continually monitored in three groups: a) 6 depressed patients before an electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) course and b) after an ECT course; and c) 6 healthy, sex-matched controls of similar age.

Results: The 24-hour profile of temperature was significantly different in patients pre-ECT than in patients post-ECT or in controls. Post-ECT subjects and controls manifested 24-hour profiles similar to one another. Circadian temperature rhythm amplitude increased after ECT. The mean asleep and mean 24-hour temperatures were significantly higher in patients pre-ECT than post-ECT and controls.

Conclusions: We find that ECT restores a disrupted circadian temperature rhythm in depressed patients.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affect
  • Body Temperature / physiology*
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology*
  • Depressive Disorder / physiopathology*
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Depressive Disorder / therapy*
  • Electroconvulsive Therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales