What can post-mortem studies tell us about the pathoetiology of suicide?

Academic Article


  • Suicide is a major public health concern; however, its neurobiology is unclear. Post-mortem brain tissue obtained from suicide victims and normal controls offers a useful method for studying the neurobiology of suicide. Despite several limitations, these studies have offered important leads in the neurobiology of suicide. In this article, we discuss some important findings resulting from these studies, focusing on serotonergic mechanisms, signal transduction systems, neuroendocrine studies and immune function abnormalities in suicide. These studies suggest that abnormalities of certain receptor subtypes, components of signaling systems such as protein kinase C and protein kinase A, transcription factors such as cyclic AMP response element-binding protein and neurotrophins may play an important role in the pathophysiology of suicide. These studies also suggest abnormalities of hypothalamic-pituitary- adrenal axis system components, feedback mechanisms and cytokines, which are chemical mediators of the immune functions. Post-mortem brain tissue offers an opportunity for future studies, such as genetic and epigenetic studies. © 2010 Future Medicine Ltd.
  • Authors

    Published In

  • Future Neurology  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Pandey GN; Dwivedi Y
  • Start Page

  • 701
  • End Page

  • 720
  • Volume

  • 5
  • Issue

  • 5