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Causes and risk factors
Increased serotonin 1A receptor availability in the raphe nuclei predicts future suicidal behaviour
  1. Andreas Frick1,2
  1. 1 Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
  2. 2 Department of Psychology, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
  1. Department of Psychology, Uppsala University, Box 1225, 751 42 Uppsala, Sweden; Andreas.Frick{at}

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ABSTRACT FROM: Oquendo MA, Galfalvy H, Sullivan GM, et al. Positron emission tomographic imaging of the serotonergic system and prediction of risk and lethality of future suicidal behavior. JAMA Psychiatry 2016;73:1048–55.

What is already known on this topic

Each year, suicide ends an estimated 800 000 lives worldwide.1 Thus, identifying risk factors of future suicidal behaviour is of great importance. Accumulating evidence for the last 40 years have linked suicide to alterations in the central serotonergic system,2 but prospective studies predicting future suicidal behaviour from brain serotonin measures are lacking.

Methods of the study

Brain serotonin 1A (n=100) and serotonin transporter (n=50) binding potentials were investigated in vivo in patients with major depressive disorder using positron emission tomography (PET) with the radiotracers [11C]WAY100635 and [11C]DASB, respectively. The patients scored >15 on the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (17-item), indicating at least moderate severity …

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  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.