What is the catecholamine hypothesis of the etiology of bipolar affective disorder (manic-depressive illness?)

Updated: May 06, 2018
  • Author: Stephen Soreff, MD; Chief Editor: Glen L Xiong, MD  more...
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Answer

The blood pressure drug reserpine, which depletes catecholamines from nerve terminals, was noted incidentally to cause depression. This led to the catecholamine hypothesis, which holds that an increase in epinephrine and norepinephrine causes mania and a decrease in epinephrine and norepinephrine causes depression.


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