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Neuropsychopharmacology. 2001 May;24(5):467-77.

The neurobiology and genetics of suicide and attempted suicide: a focus on the serotonergic system.

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Department of Neuroscience, New York State Psychiatric Institute, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA


Numerous abnormalities have been found in the serotonergic system in suicide attempters and completers. There is considerable evidence that the serotonergic system is partly under genetic control and that as yet unknown genetic factors mediate the risk for suicidal behavior independently of the genetic factors responsible for the heritability of major psychiatric conditions associated with suicide. An argument is made that there is a relationship of genetic variants to intermediate phenotypes, such as impulsivity, psychomotor change, pathological aggression and biological abnormalities including specific gene products. A variety of biological indices have been generated by new approaches using postmortem tissue and in vivo imaging that will provide a rich substrate for further genetic studies.

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