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J Affect Disord. 2010 Jan;120(1-3):24-31. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2009.04.007.

Altered expression of lipid metabolism and immune response genes in the frontal cortex of suicide completers.

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  • 1McGill Group for Suicide Studies, Douglas Mental Health University Institute, McGill University, Verdun, Qu├ębec, Canada.



Studies investigating the association between low cholesterol and suicidality have generated a range of ideas about how cholesterol might play a role in influencing suicide risk, extending studies to other aspects of lipid metabolism, as well as immune response, in relation to suicide.


We performed large-scale microarray gene expression analysis using the Affymetrix HG-U133 chipset and focused our investigation on the expression profile of genes related to lipid metabolism and immune response in post-mortem brains from suicide completers and comparison subjects. We used tissue from three regions of the frontal cortex (Brodmann areas (BA) 8/9, 11, and 47) from 22 male suicide completers, 15 of whom were diagnosed with major depressive disorder, and 13 male comparison subjects.


Fatty acid desaturase (FADS1), leptin receptor (LEPR), phosphoinositide-3-kinase (class 2 alpha; PIK3C2A) and stearoyl-CoA desaturase (SCD) were consistently down-regulated in all three regions of the frontal cortex of depressed suicides compared to comparison subjects, and were among the genes for which significant correlations were observed between our microarray and real-time PCR data.


Given the absence of a non-suicidal depressed comparison group in this study, it cannot be ascertained whether the gene expression changes identified are associated with depression or suicide.


Our findings suggest a role for lipid metabolism and immune response genes in depressed suicide completers and lend further support to the relationship between lipid metabolism and suicidality.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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