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J Affect Disord. 2013 May 15;148(1):72-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2012.11.051. Epub 2013 Jan 9.

The association between suicidality and serotonergic dysfunction in depressed patients.

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Department of Psychiatry, Ilsan Paik Hospital, Inje University College of Medicine, 2240, Daehwa-dong, Ilsanseo-gu, Goyang 411-706, Republic of Korea.


The loudness dependence of auditory evoked potentials (LDAEP) has been proposed as a reliable indicator of central serotonin system activity in animal and some human studies. Since low central serotonergic activity is related to suicidality, it is possible that the LDAEP can be used to predict suicidality. The aim of the present study was to determine whether there is an association between suicidality and LDAEP in a depressed Korean population. Data from 38 depressive subjects (10 males, 28 females; mean age: 40.79 years) were analyzed. The subjects were divided into two groups: with prior suicide attempts (SA; n=17) and no prior suicide attempts (NSA; n=21). The LDAEP was evaluated by measuring auditory event-related potentials. Peak-to-peak N1/P2 amplitudes were calculated at five stimulus intensities, and the LDAEP was calculated as the slope of the linear-regression curve. The LDAEP values differed significantly between the SA and NSA groups. Depressed subjects with a history of suicide attempts seem to be characterized by large LDAEP values, indicating low serotonergic activity. The findings of the present study support the view that low serotonergic activity is related to the suicidality of depressed subjects. Thus, LDAEP, which can reflect serotonergic activity, may be a practical biological marker for suicidality.

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