Neuroendocrine alterations in major depressive disorder

Fariya Ali, Charles B. Nemeroff

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


Several alterations in neuroendocrine systems have been demonstrated to exhibit altered activity in patients with major depression compared to normal healthy volunteers. The most robust and best replicated findings are studies of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, and more specifically the corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) neuropeptide system. Increased neuronal CRH activity in extrahypothalamic and hypothalamic areas and increased HPA axis activity has been implicated in the development of depression during adulthood, in part a consequence of exposure to early-life stress as demonstrated in both in clinical and preclinical studies. In addition other neuroendocrine aberrations in depressed patients have also been demonstrated, most notably the hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axis and to a lesser extent, the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis. This chapter is a brief overview of the research findings over the last 50 or so years highlighting the neuroendocrine abnormalities and their putative role in the pathogenesis of major depression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMajor Depressive Disorder
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9780323581318
ISBN (Print)9780323581325
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Corticotropin-releasing hormone
  • Depression
  • Early life stress
  • Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal
  • Neuroendocrine systems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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