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The uptake of [3H]5-HT and the density (Bmax) as well as affinity (Kd) of 5-HT uptake sites labelled with [3H]paroxetine and of 5-HT2 receptors labelled by [3H]LSD were determined in platelets from 25 medication-free patients with major depression and 20 normal controls. The density (Bmax) of 5-HT2 receptors was found to be significantly increased (by 52%) in platelets from depressed patients, particularly females. No changes were found in the affinity (Kd) of 5-HT2 receptors and in 5-HT uptake or [3H]paroxetine binding parameters. Density of 5-HT2 receptors positively correlated with that of [3H]paroxetine sites in control but not in depressed subjects. No correlation was found between the HAMD scores and Bmax of [3H]LSD binding. The results suggest that upregulation of platelet 5-HT2 receptors is a useful biological marker in major depression, particularly in females.