Studies of testosterone levels in patients with major depressive illness have produced varying results, plasma levels usually being reported. Saliva levels reflect 'free' plasma testosterone, and a pilot study of 11 men with major depression with melancholia, who underwent a standard dexamethasone suppression test, is described. There were no significant differences in testosterone levels compared with an age-matched control group. In the patient group, pre-dexamethasone levels correlated significantly and negatively with depression ratings on the 21-item Hamilton and the Montgomery and Asberg depression scales, and also with state anxiety measured on the Spielberger scale.