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Keywords:

  • serotonin;
  • selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor;
  • loudness dependence auditory evoked potential;
  • LDAEP;
  • citalopram;
  • electrophysiology;
  • biological marker;
  • event related potential

Abstract

The loudness dependence of the auditory evoked potential (LDAEP) has been suggested as a reliable measure of central serotonin function in humans. The most convincing evidence for a direct relationship between serotonergic function and LDAEP to date has come from animal studies, while evidence in humans has been circumstantial and inconsistent. In the current study, we examine the direct effect of serotonergic modulation with the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) citalopram on the LDAEP. The study was a double-blind placebo controlled design in which healthy participants were tested under two acute treatment conditions: placebo and citalopram (20 mg). Enhancement of serotonin function with citalopram in comparison to placebo decreased the slope of the LDAEP (i.e. weaker LDAEP). The findings provide direct evidence in humans, of a relationship between central serotonin function and the LDAEP, supporting findings previously observed in animals and clinical populations. Together the results provide further support for the validity of the LDAEP as a non-invasive in vivo measure of central serotonin function in humans. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.