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June 1986

Serotonin and 5-Hydroxyindoleacetic Acid in Brains of Suicide Victims: Comparison in Chronic Schizophrenic Patients With Suicide as Cause of Death

Author Affiliations

From the Neuropsychiatric Branch, Intramural Research Program, National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, Md; and St Elizabeth Hospital, Washington, DC. Dr Korpi is now with the Research Laboratories of the Finnish State Alcohol Co, Helsinki. Dr Linnoila is now with the Laboratory of Clinical Studies, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Bethesda, Md.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1986;43(6):594-600. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1986.01800060088011

• Serotonin (5-HT) and 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid concentrations were determined in various brain areas of nonschizophrenic suicide victims, chronic schizophrenic patients with or without suicide as the cause of death, and normal control subjects without psychiatric or neurologic disorders. Serotonin concentrations in the basal ganglia were significantly elevated in suicide victims and chronic schizophrenic patients, as were 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid concentrations in the occipital cortex. These differences were not specific to either patient group and may have been caused by neuroleptic or antidepressant treatment. A decreased 5-HT concentration was found in the hypothalamus of nonschizophrenic suicide victims. Among the chronic schizophrenic patients, there was no significant difference in the hypothalamic 5-HT content between the suicide victims and others, indicating that low 5-HT levels in the hypothalamus are not characteristic of schizophrenic patients who died of suicide.

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