Peripheral Serotonin and Catecholamine Levels and Suicidal Behavior

  • Marie Luise Rao
  • Peter Bräunig


Reduction in serotonin turnover has been demonstrated in patients with aggressive and autoaggressive, i.e., suicidal, behavior. The concentrations of serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT) and its metabolite 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA) are reduced in the brainstem of suicide victims and in the cerebrospinal fluid of suicidal patients. Violent suicide attempts are associated with low serotonin turnover.1,2 Mann et al.3 have shown a correlation between reduced serotonergic activity and suicidal behavior; presynaptic imipramine binding was reduced and 5-HT2 receptors were increased in the frontal cortex of suicide victims. Because serotonin metabolism disturbances seem to be the underlying cause of these psychiatric illnesses, the question is whether they provide a trait, rather than a state, marker; we therefore thought that cross-sectional studies in patients sharing the same symptoms concomitant with a longitudinal study may shed light on some of the pertinent questions in suicide research.


Suicidal Behavior Serotonin Level Suicide Victim Serotonergic Activity Endogenous Depression 
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© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marie Luise Rao
  • Peter Bräunig

There are no affiliations available

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