Red cell ouabain-sensitive Na+-K+-adenosine triphosphatase: A state marker in affective disorder inversely related to plasma cortisol

J. Nurnberger, D. C. Jimerson, J. R. Allen, S. Simmons, E. Gershon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

40 Scopus citations


Ouabain-sensitive Na+-K+-stimulated ATPase was measured in red cell membranes using a spectrophotometric assay. The mean enzyme level in patients in the depressed state (1.2 nM/mg protein per min ± 0.18 SEM) was lower than that in well-state patients (2.0 ± 0.26) and hypomanic patients (2.4 ± 0.31). Lithium treatment itself did not alter ATPase levels. Levels in patients in the well state were not significantly different from controls and thus ATPase does not constitute a 'trait' marker for affective illness. Plasma cortisol level was higher in wellstate patients (15.9 μg/dl ± 1.46) than in controls (11.5 ± 0.75). There were no significant differences in cortisol in these single morning samples during different mood states. Cortisol level correlated negatively with ATPase level in the total group of patients (r = -0.42, p < 0.005), especially in those who were euthymic. These data indicate a relationship between cortisol and ATPase levels in affectively ill patients. Ouabain-sensitive NaKATPase may be useful as an indicator of state in affective illness; plasma cortisol may be continuously elevated in some individuals with affective disorder.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)981-992
Number of pages12
JournalBiological psychiatry
Issue number9
StatePublished - Dec 10 1982
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biological Psychiatry

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