[Skip to Navigation]
June 1992

Marked Reduction in Indexes of Dopamine Metabolism Among Patients With Depression Who Attempt Suicide

Author Affiliations

From Hillside Hospital, Glen Oaks, NY (Drs Roy and Pollack), and the National Institute of Mental Health—Neuroscience Center at St Elizabeth's Hospital, Washington, DC (Dr Karoum), and the Department of Quantitative Analysis, St John's University, Jamaica, NY (Dr Pollack).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1992;49(6):447-450. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1992.01820060027004

• Cerebrospinal fluid studies have reported that low concentrations of the dopamine metabolite homovanillic acid are associated with suicidal behavior in depression. Although only a small proportion of homovanillic acid in the urine derives from the brain, we decided to examine 24-hour urinary outputs of homovanillic acid in relation to suicidal behavior in depression. Patients with depression who had attempted suicide had significantly smaller urinary outputs of homovanillic acid, dihydroxyphenylacetic acid, and total body output of dopamine (sum dopamine) than did patients with depression who had not attempted suicide. Patients with depression who reattempted suicide during 5-year follow-up had significantly smaller urinary outputs of homovanillic acid and sum dopamine than did patients who did not reattempt suicide, patients who never attempted suicide, and normal control subjects, and had significantly smaller outputs of dihydroxyphenylacetic acid than patients who never attempted suicide or control subjects. These data suggest that urinary outputs of homovanillic acid may be peripheral correlates of suicidalithomovanillicion. These data add to data on the low levels of homovanillic acid in cerebrospinal fluid in suggesting that diminished dopaminergic neurotransmission may play a part in suicidal behavior in depression.

Add or change institution