Serotonergic blunting to meta-chlorophenylpiperazine (m-CPP) highly correlates with sustained childhood abuse in impulsive and autoaggressive female borderline patients

T Rinne*, HGM Westenberg, JA den Boer

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    Abstract

    Background: Disturbances of affect, impulse regulation and autoaggressive behavior which are all said to be related to an altered function of the central serotonergic (5-HT) system, are prominent features of borderline personality disorder (BPD). A high coincidence of childhood physical and sexual abuse is reported in these patients. Animal studies indicate that early, sustained stress correlates with a dysfunctional central 5-HT system. Therefore, we hypothesize that sustained traumatic stress in childhood affects the responsivity of the postsynaptic serotonergic system of traumatized BPD patients.

    Methods: Following Axis I, Axis II, and trauma assessment, a neuroendocrine challenge test was performed with the postsynaptic serotonergic agonist meta-chlorophenylpiperazine (m-CPP) in 12 impulsive and autoaggressive female patients with BPD and 9 matched healthy volunteers.

    Results: The cortisol and prolactin responses to the m-CPP challenge in BPD patients were significantly lower compared to those in controls. Within the group of patients with BPD, the net prolactin response showed a high inverse correlation with the frequency of the physical (r = -.77) and sexual abuse (r = -.60).

    Conclusions: Our data suggest that severe and sustained traumatic stress in childhood affects the 5-HT system and especially 5-HT1A receptors, This finding confirms the data from animal research. The blunted prolactin response to m-CPP appears to be the result of severe traumatization and independent of the BPD diagnosis. (C) 2000 Society of Biological Psychiatry.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)548-556
    Number of pages9
    JournalBiological Psychiatry
    Volume47
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 15-Mar-2000

    Keywords

    • borderline personality disorder
    • childhood abuse/trauma
    • m-chlorophenylpiperazine Cm-CPP)
    • serotonin (5-HT)
    • prolactin
    • cortisol
    • PERSONALITY-DISORDER
    • D-FENFLURAMINE
    • MAJOR DEPRESSION
    • SEXUAL ABUSE
    • NEUROENDOCRINE RESPONSE
    • AGGRESSIVE-BEHAVIOR
    • CORTISOL RESPONSES
    • PROLACTIN RESPONSE
    • 5-HT2C RECEPTORS
    • PHYSICAL ABUSE

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