Leo Sher, M.D.
Our research article, “CSF monoamine metabolites and lethality of suicide attempts in depressed patients with alcohol dependence” was published 10 years ago in a 2007 issue of “European Neuropsychopharmacology” (1).
Monoaminergic abnormalities have been implicated in the pathophysiology of depression, alcohol use disorder, and suicidal behavior. We examined the relationship of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) 5-hydroxyindolacetic acid (5-HIAA), homovanillic acid (HVA), and 3-methoxy-4-hydroxyphenylglycol (MHPG) levels to lethality of suicide attempts in drug free patients with comorbid alcoholism and major depression. The Beck Lethality Scale was used to evaluate degree of medical damage. Study participants with medical lethality scores ≥4 were classified as high-lethality suicide attempters, participants with medical lethality scores <4 were regarded as low-lethality attempters. The classification between low-lethality and high-lethality attempters was based on lifetime history.
We found that CSF 5-HIAA levels were lower in high-lethality attempters compared to low-lethality attempters. There were no group differences in the CSF HVA or MHPG levels. Controlling for age and gender did not change the results for CSF 5-HIAA. The difference in the CSF HVA and CSF MHPG levels remained non-significant after the adjustment for age and gender. The results of this study indicate that lethality of suicidal behavior in depressed patients with alcoholism is related to serotonergic activity.
“European Neuropsychopharmacology” is the official journal of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology. This monthly scientific journal was established in 1990.
- Sher L., Oquendo M.A., Grunebaum M.F., Burke A.K., Huang Y., Mann J.J. CSF monoamine metabolites and lethality of suicide attempts in depressed patients with alcohol dependence. European Neuropsychopharmacology, 2007, Vol. 17, No. 1, pp. 12-15.