Serotonin receptor, SERT mRNA and correlations with symptoms in males with alcohol dependence and suicide

P. M. Thompson, D. A. Cruz, D. Y. Olukotun, P. L. Delgado

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Objective: This study tested the hypothesis that abnormalities in components of the serotonin (5HT) system in the prefrontal cortex are associated with suicide in alcohol-dependent subjects. Second, we assessed the relationship of lifetime impulsivity and mood symptoms with prefrontal cortex 5-HT measures. Method: Tissue was obtained from Brodmann's areas (BA) 9 and 24 in postmortem samples of individuals who were alcohol dependent with suicide (n=5), alcohol dependent without suicide (n=9) and normal controls (n=5). Serotonin receptor (5HT) and serotonin reuptake transporter (SERT) mRNA were measured. Interviews with next of kin estimated lifetime impulsivity and mood symptoms in the last week of life. Results: Serotonin receptor 1A (5HT1A) mRNA in BA 9 was elevated in the alcohol dependence without suicide group compared with controls. In the alcohol dependence with suicide group, anxiety symptoms were associated with decreased BA 24 SERT mRNA and depressive symptoms with BA 9 5HT1A mRNA expression. In the alcohol dependent only group impulsivity is correlated with increased BA 9, and BA 24 serotonin receptor 2A mRNA. Conclusion: Our data suggest region-specific change, rather than global serotonin blunting is involved in alcohol dependence and suicide. It also suggests that symptoms are differentially influenced by prefrontal cortex serotonin receptor mRNA levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)165-174
Number of pages10
JournalActa Psychiatrica Scandinavica
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2012


  • Alcohol
  • Prefrontal cortex
  • Serotonin receptor 1A
  • Serotonin receptor 2A
  • Serotonin receptors
  • Serotonin reuptake transporter
  • Suicide
  • Symptoms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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