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July 1989

Cerebrospinal Fluid Monoamine Metabolites and Suicidal Behavior in Depressed PatientsA 5-Year Follow-up Study

Author Affiliations

From the Laboratory of Clinical Studies, Division of Clinical and Biological Research, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Bethesda, Md.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1989;46(7):609-612. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1989.01810070035005

• We carried out a 5-year follow-up study of suicidal behavior among depressed patients who earlier had determinations of cerebrospinal fluid levels of monoamine metabolites. Patients who reattempted suicide during the follow-up had significantly lower cerebrospinal fluid levels of both the serotonin metabolite 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid and the dopamine metabolite homovanillic acid. The findings were most striking among melancholic patients. These follow-up results suggest that reduced central turnover of serotonin and dopamine may be associated with further suicidal behavior among depressed patients who have previously attempted suicide.