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Biol Psychiatry. 1997 May 15;41(10):1000-9.

Serotonergic, noradrenergic, and dopaminergic measures in suicide brains.

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  • 1Department of Geriatric Medicine, University of Linköping, Sweden.


Concentrations of the three main monoamines (5-HT, NA, and DA), their metabolites (5-HIAA, DOPAC, and HVA), and the serotonin precursor 5-hydroxy-L-tryptophan were simultaneously measured in frontal cortex, gyrus cinguli, and hypothalamus from 23 controls and 18 suicide victims. Overall suicides did not show significant differences with respect to the control group in any of the measured compounds. Significant increases in noradrenaline and dopamine concentrations were noted in the carbon monoxide poisoning suicides, together with a significant increased hypothalamic dopamine in the drug overdose suicides. It is suggested that the suicidal behavior is not related to substantial changes in cortical and hypothalamic monoaminergic function; however, the reported results could be secondary to the rapid effect of hypoxia and of the acute self-administration of certain drugs in specific metabolic pathways.

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