September 1991

α1-Noradrenergic Receptor Binding in Suicide Victims

Author Affiliations

Department of Psychological Medicine University of Otago Medical School PO Box 913 Dunedin, New Zealand

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1991;48(9):859-860. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1991.01810330083015

To the Editor.—  Gross-Isseroff and colleagues1 report reduced binding of tritiated prazosin in brain sections of suicide victims compared with those of matched control subjects. This observation suggests a functional noradrenergic abnormality in the central nervous system of suicidal individuals. However, several issues are unclear. First, did the rater score autoradiograms without knowing from which experimental group the sections came? It is difficult to exclude bias otherwise. Second, no data are Presented on tricyclic antidepressant levels in the samples, even though the authors' method implies that they were measured. These drugs are variably potent α1-antagonists, as shown by their ability to displace tritiated prazosin from specific binding sites in the human brain.2 Were the authors able to ensure that residual tricyclic levels did not inhibit tritiated prazosin binding in some of the suicide cases?Finally, the authors present 84 suicide vs control t tests in the statistical analysis without

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