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Prog Neurobiol. 2009 Dec;89(4):315-33. doi: 10.1016/j.pneurobio.2009.09.001. Epub 2009 Sep 18.

Suicide neurobiology.

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  • 1McGill Group for Suicide Studies, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.


In this review, we examine the history of the neurobiology of suicide, as well as the genetics, molecular and neurochemical findings in suicide research. Our analysis begins with a summary of family, twin, and adoption studies, which provide support for the investigation of genetic variation in suicide risk. This leads to an overview of neurochemical findings restricted to neurotransmitters and their receptors, including recent findings in whole genome gene expression studies. Next, we look at recent studies investigating lipid metabolism, cell signalling with a particular emphasis on growth factors, stress systems with a focus on the role of polyamines, and finally, glial cell pathology in suicide. We conclude with a description of new ideas to study the neurobiology of suicide, including subject-specific analysis, protein modification assessment, neuroarchitecture studies, and study design strategies to investigate the complex suicide phenotype.

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