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Brain Res. 1988 Feb 23;442(1):199-203.

Regionally selective increases in beta-adrenergic receptor density in the brains of suicide victims.

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  • 1Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel.


As part of the search for the biochemical and neuroanatomical etiology of suicide and depression, we have investigated the binding characteristics of beta-adrenergic receptors in homogenates of the prefrontal cortex of suicide victims and matched controls. Quantitative in vitro autoradiography was used to localize changes in receptor binding to discrete anatomical regions. A total of 28 brains (14 suicides, 14 matched controls) were examined. A significant, 50% increase in receptor density was found in prefrontal cortical homogenates of the suicide group. The increased binding is selective, appearing in some cortical regions but not in basal ganglia or white matter areas. These findings indicate that suicide is associated with anatomically selective changes in noradrenergic function in the brain.

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