J Psychopharmacol. 2008 Jun 18. [Epub ahead of print]
Is there a neuroendocrinological rationale for testosterone as a therapeutic option in depression?
Ebinger M, Sievers C, Ivan D, Schneider HJ, Stalla GK. Department of Psychiatry, Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry, Munich, Germany.
Depression is a disease of growing incidence and economic burden worldwide. In view of increasing treatment resistance, new therapeutic approaches are urgently needed. In addition to its gonadal functions, testosterone has many effects on the central nervous system. An association between testosterone levels and depressive symptoms has been proposed. Many hormones and neurotransmitters are involved in the aetiology and the course of depression including serotonin, dopamine, noradrenaline, vasopressin and cortisol. Testosterone is known to interact with them. Preclinical data suggest that testosterone has antidepressant potential. However, the data from clinical studies have been inconsistent. This review provides a critical overview on the currently available preclinical and clinical literature and concludes with clinical recommendations.