Pharmacopsychiatry 2003; 36 - 109
DOI: 10.1055/s-2003-825360

Predictive value of sleep EEG markers in long-term course of depression

M Hatzinger 1, S Brand 1, U Hemmeter 1, B Annen 1, E Holsboer-Trachsler 1
  • 1Psychiatric University Hospital, Department of Depression Research, Sleep Medicine and Neurophysiology, Basel, Switzerland

(Supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation Nr 3200–052778.97)

The predictive value of altered sleep regulation for long-term course of depression is unclear (1). Thus, the present study aimed to identify sleep EEG markers that may have predictive value for the long-term outcome. In order to characterize related pathophysiological mechanisms hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) system function was assessed as well (2).

In fifteen patients with depression HPA system assessments using the DEX/CRH test and sleep EEG studies were conducted during a controlled antidepressant treatment study (TS) and during a follow-up (FU) investigation 2 to 10 years later.

Unfavorable sleep EEG measures during the TS were significantly associated with the previous course of depression and with the prospective outcome until FU as reflected by the number of episodes. Moreover, the identified sleep EEG markers correlated significantly with the amount of HPA system dysfunction.

We conclude that sleep EEG markers and HPA system regulation may predict the long-term course of depression.

1. Thase, M.E., Buysse, D.J., Frank, E., Cherry, C.R., Cornes, C.L., Mallinger, A.G. and Kupfer, D.J. Which depressed patients will respond to interpersonal psychotherapy? The role of abnormal EEG sleep profiles. Am J Psychiatry 1997, 154: 502–509.

2. Steiger, A. and Holsboer, F. Nocturnal secretion of prolactin and cortisol and the sleep EEG in patients with major endogenous depression during an acute episode and after full remission. Psychiatry Research 1997, 72: 81–88.