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Psychiatr Clin North Am. 2008 Jun;31(2):247-69. doi: 10.1016/j.psc.2008.01.005.

Stress, genes and the biology of suicidal behavior.

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Division of Molecular Imaging and Neuropathology, Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University, 1051 Riverside Drive, NYSPI Unit #42, New York, NY 10032, USA.


Suicidal behavior is partly heritable. Studies seeking the responsible candidate genes have examined genes involved in neurotransmitter systems shown to have altered function in suicide and attempted suicide. These neurotransmitter systems include the serotonergic, noradrenergic, and dopaminergic systems and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. With some exceptions, most notably the serotonin transporter gene promoter polymorphism (HTTLPR), replication of candidate gene association studies findings has been difficult. This article reviews current knowledge of specific gene effects and gene-environment interactions that influence risk for suicidal behavior. Effects of childhood stress on development and how it influences adult responses to current stress are shown to be relevant for mood disorders, aggressive/impulsive traits, and suicidal behavior.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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