Genes and violent suicide

May 07, 2000

Possible association of the short allele of the serotonin transporter promoter gene polymorphism (5-HTTLPR) with violent suicide

According to a recently formulated hypothesis the vulnerability for suicidal behavior results from an interaction of several risk factors, such as acute psychiatric illness, substance abuse, adverse life events or family crisis and genetic factors.

Since disturbances in serotonergic transmission are widely associated with impulsive, violent behaviour, the promoter region of the serotonin transporter gene (5-HTTLPR) is receiving increasing interest in psychiatric genetic research.

The authors examined whether the L- or S-allele of the 5-HTTLPR might be associated with suicidal tendencies in DNAs from 58 suicide victims (with unknown psychiatric diagnosis; most of them committing violent suicide) and 110 healthy controls. They found a highly significant excess of L/S and S/S in suicide victims as compared to normal controls.

Although still preliminary, these results suggest that the 5-HTTLPR may contribute to autoaggressive behavior and violent suicide, irrespectively from clinical diagnosis.
AUTHORS: B Bondy, A Erfurth, S de Jonge, M Krüger, H Meyer Psychiatric Hospital of University Munich, Nussaumstrasse 7, D-80336 Munich, Germany; Institute of Forensic Medicine, University of Munich, Frauenlobstrasse 7a, D-80337 Munich, Germany

For further information on this work, please contact Professor Brigitta Bondy, Psychiatric Hospital of University Munich Nussbaumstrasse 7, D-80336 Munich, Germany.
Tel: 49-89-5160-2737
FAX: 49-89-5160-4741

Molecular Psychiatry is published by the Nature Publishing Group.

Editor: Julio Licinio, M.D.
Editorial assistant: Ms. Jill Merritt

For a copy of the article, please contact Ms. Merritt.

Molecular Psychiatry

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