Antidepressive response to sleep deprivation in unipolar depression is not associated with dopamine D3 receptor genotype

Gunter Schumann, Francesco Benedetti, Ulrich Voderholzer, Norbert Kammerer, Ulrich Hemmeter, Heinz Werner Travers, Bernd Fiebich, Edith Holsboer-Trachsler, Mathias Berger, Erich Seifritz, Dieter Ebert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The psychostimulant theory of antidepressive sleep deprivation (SD) proposes a contribution of dopamine D3 receptors (DRD3) in the limbic system to the antidepressant effects of SD. Neuroendocrinological studies suggest a positive correlation of clinical response to SD and cortisol secretion. We hypothesized that the clinical response to SD and amount of cortisol secretion upon SD is associated with the 1-1 genotype of the Bal1 polymorphism of DRD3 on exon 1. In this study, aiming at evaluating the feasibility of screening large patient samples, 52 inpatients (19 males/33 females) with unipolar depression and a score of 18 or more on the 21-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale were treated with 1 night of total SD. We found that 31% of our patients responded to SD. There was no association between response to SD and the genotype of the DRD3 Bal1 polymorphism (p <0.879). There was also no association between increase in cortisol secretion after SD and DRD3 genotypes (p <1.000) in a subgroup of patients. Statistical power analysis ruled out a major effect of the DRD3 Bal1 polymorphism on clinical response to SD. These results suggest that the DRD3 Bal1 polymorphism is not a promising lead to be followed up in larger patient samples.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-130
Number of pages4
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • Cortisol
  • Dopamin D3 receptor
  • Genetic polymorphism
  • HPA system
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Unipolar depression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Psychology(all)


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