Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

PET Imaging Links Serotonin Disorder to Suicide Risk: Biologic Differences in the Mediation of Behavioral Inhibition Flag High-Risk Cases. (Study of 26 Depressed Patients)

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

PET Imaging Links Serotonin Disorder to Suicide Risk: Biologic Differences in the Mediation of Behavioral Inhibition Flag High-Risk Cases. (Study of 26 Depressed Patients)

Article excerpt

MONTREAL -- An alteration in the brain's central serotonin metabolism may predispose certain depressed individuals to suicide, neuroimaging studies have shown for the first time.

Evidence of biologic differences in the region of the brain that mediates behavioral inhibition via serotonergic input among depressed patients may explain why some people with psychiatric illnesses try to kill themselves--and why some individuals are more prone than others to "high-lethality" suicide attempts, Dr. John Mann said at the 23rd Congress of the Collegium Internationale NeuroPsychopharmacologicum.

Deficient serotonergic neurotransmission has been hypothesized as a cause of major depression for 30 years, and postmortem studies have linked serotonergic dysfunction in the ventral prefrontal cortex to suicide, said Dr. Mann, professor of psychiatry at Columbia University, New York, and director of the department of neuroscience at the New York State Psychiatric Institute. The use of positron emission tomography enables the visualization of this abnormality in vivo.

In their study, Dr. Mann and his associates compared the levels of depression, psychopathology impulsivity, aggression, and neuropsychological factors among high- arid low-lethality suicide attempters with major depression. PET scans and a fenfluramine challenge showed that the high-lethality individuals appear to have localized prefrontal cortex hypofunction and impaired serotonergic responsivity and that the lethality of the suicide attempts increases in proportion to the degree of serotonergic dysfunction. The lethality of suicidal behavior also correlates with intent and impulsivity, "and both of these characteristics are related to the level of activity in specific prefrontal cortical areas," Dr. Mann said.

To assess serotonergic responsivity, Dr. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.