The biology of tryptophan depletion and mood disorders

Lilach Toker, Shirly Amar, Yuly Bersudsky, Jonathan Benjamin, Ehud Klein, Galila Agam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The involvement of the serotonergic system in the pathophysiology and treatment of affective disorders has been strongly implicated. The tryptophan depletion paradigm is widely used to study the effect of lowering serotonin levels. However, the effects observed in such studies are inconsistent and sometimes contradictory. The present review summarizes and discusses these discrepancies, emphasizing the importance of methodological details such as acute vs. chronic tryptophan depletion, patient's diagnosis and disease state (euthymic vs. acute phase) and previous drug treatment. Acute tryptophan depletion as a predictive test for personalized antidepressant treatment is suggested.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-55
Number of pages10
JournalIsrael Journal of Psychiatry and Related Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


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