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June 1988

Somatostatin Immunoreactivity in Postmortem Brain From Depressed Suicides

Author Affiliations

MRC Neuroendocrinology Unit Newcastle General Hospital Newcastle upon Tyne NE4 6BE, England
Departments of Pharmacology and Clinical Pharmacology, and Forensic Medicine, St George's Hospital Medical School London SW17 ORE, England
Middlesex Hospital Medical School London W1A 8AA, England

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1988;45(6):597. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1988.01800300095015

To the Editor.—  Bissette and colleagues1 have reported reduced concentrations of somatostatin immunoreactivity (somatostatin-I) in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from depressed patients (and those with other psychiatric diagnoses) compared with controls, confirming the report by Rubinow and colleagues.2 However, it is not clear whether this reduction reflects an alteration in somatostatin concentration in the brain. We have measured somatostatin-I concentrations in the brains of depressed suicides and controls.

Subjects and Methods.—  Depression was diagnosed retrospectively in 12 suicide subjects using the criteria of Beskow and colleagues3 (group 1, endogenous depression; group 2, depressive syndrome in the absence of other psychiatric disorders). Causes of death were carbon monoxide poisoning (n = 4), hanging (n = 4), and drug overdose (n = 4). For comparison, 12 ageand sex-matched controls who died of natural causes (principally myocardial infarction) were also studied. There was no significant difference in delay from death to postmortem examination

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