Background: Genes involved in the serotonin system are major candidates in association studies of suicidal behavior. In this case–control study we investigated whether the serotonin transporter (5-HTT) gene encoding the protein responsible for the reuptake of serotonin from the synapse after its release from serotonergic neurons is a susceptibility factor for suicidal behavior.
Methods: A functional polymorphism of the 5-HTT gene (a 44–base pair insertion/deletion in the 5-HTT–linked polymorphic region [5-HTTLPR]) was studied in a population of 237 consecutive patients with affective disorder (unipolar or bipolar) and 187 control subjects. Ninety-nine patients had attempted suicide at least once, of whom 26 made a violent attempt.
Results: No association was found between the “s” allele of the 5-HTTLPR and suicide attempt; however, there was a significant difference in allele distributions between patients who had made violent suicide attempts and control subjects.
Conclusions: A genetic variant of the 5-HTT gene may predispose individuals to violent suicidal behavior. The precise phenotype associated with the 5-HTT gene is unclear, and therefore further studies are required to replicate these findings.
To read this article in full you will need to make a payment
Purchase one-time access:Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
One-time access price info
- For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
- For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'
Subscribe:Subscribe to Biological Psychiatry
Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
Already an online subscriber? Sign in
Register: Create an account
Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect
- Statistical Methods in Medical Research. Blackwell Scientific, Oxford, UK1987
- 5-HIAA in the cerebrospinal fluid. A biochemical suicide predictor?.Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1976; 33: 1193-1197
- Serotonin transporter gene polymorphisms in patients with unipolar or bipolar depression.Neurosci Lett. 1998; 255: 143-146
- Suicidal behavior runs in families. A controlled family study of adolescent suicide victims.Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1996; 53: 1145-1152
- A novel functional polymorphism within the promoter of the serotonin transporter gene.Mol Psychiatry. 1996; 1: 453-460
- Analysis and meta-analysis of two serotonin transporter gene polymorphisms in bipolar and unipolar affective disorders.Am J Med Genet. 1998; 81: 58-63
- Allelic variation of human serotonin transporter gene expression.J Neurochem. 1996; 66: 2621-2624
- Serotonin transporter (5-HTT) gene polymorphisms are not associated with susceptibility to mood disorders.Am J Med Genet. 1998; 81: 1-3
- Association of anxiety-related traits with a polymorphism in the serotonin transporter gene regulatory region.Science. 1996; 274: 1527-1531
- The neurobiology of suicide.Nat Med. 1998; 4: 25-30
- Diagnostic interview for genetic studies. Rationale, unique features, and training. NIMH Genetics Initiative.Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1994; 51: 849-859
- Role of serotonin in the pathophysiology of depression.Clin Chem. 1994; 40: 288-295
- Role of serotonin transporter promoter repeat length polymorphism (5-HTTLPR) in seasonality and seasonal affective disorder.Mol Psychiatry. 1998; 3: 175-177
- Genetic studies of suicidal behavior.Psychiatry Clin North Am. 1997; 20: 595-611
- Genetics of suicides. Family studies and molecular genetics.Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1997; 836: 135-157
- From synapse to vesicle.Biochem Biophys Acta. 1993; 1144: 249-263
- Monte Carlo tests for associations between disease and alleles at highly polymorphic loci.Ann Hum Genet. 1995; 59: 97-105
Accepted: March 22, 2000
Received in revised form: October 11, 1999
Received in revised form: March 17, 2000
Received: July 1, 1999
© 2000 Society of Biological Psychiatry. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.