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June 1996

Impulsive Aggression in Personality Disorder Correlates With Tritiated Paroxetine Binding in the Platelet

Author Affiliations

From the Clinical Neuroscience Research Unit, Department of Psychiatry, Medical College of Pennsylvania and Hahnemann University, Philadelphia (Drs Coccaro, Kavoussi, and Lish); and Department of Psychiatry, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, Mo (Drs Sheline and Csernansky).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1996;53(6):531-536. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1996.01830060075010

Background:  To examine the relationship between binding parameters of the platelet central serotonergic (5-HT) transporter and measures of aggression and impulsivity in adult human subjects.

Methods:  Maximal number of platelet tritiated paroxetine binding sites (Bmax) and dissociation constant (Kd) values were measured in patients with personality disorder (n=24) and healthy volunteers (n=12). Measures of aggression and impulsivity included the total score and aggression subscale of the Life History of Aggression, the Motor Aggression factor and the assault subscale of the Buss-Durkee Hostility Inventory, and the total score and motor impulsivity subscale of the Barratt Impulsiveness Scale.

Results:  The Bmax, but not Kd, values of platelet tritiated paroxetine binding was inversely correlated with the Life History of Aggression total score and aggression score and with the Buss-Durkee Hostility Inventory assault score in patients with personality disorder but not in healthy volunteer subjects. This relationship was independent of influences of factors related to depression, global function, or history of alcoholism or drug abuse.

Conclusions:  Reduced numbers of platelet 5-HT transporter sites may covary with life history of aggressive behavior in patients with personality disorder. This may represent another abnormality in 5-HT function in individuals with personality disorder and aggressive behavior.

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