This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License 3.0 (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 US), which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.
Alterations in serotonin (5-HT) neurochemistry have been implicated in the aetiology of all major neuropsychiatric disorders, ranging from schizophrenia to mood and anxiety-spectrum disorders. This review will focus on the mulifaceted implications of 5-HT-ergic dysfunctions in the pathophysiology of aggressive and suicidal behaviours. After a brief overview of the anatomical distribution of the 5-HT-ergic system in the key brain areas that govern aggression and suicidal behaviours, the implication of 5-HT markers (5-HT receptors, transporter as well as synthetic and metabolic enzymes) in these conditions is discussed. In this regard, particular emphasis is placed on the integration of pharmacological and genetic evidence from animal studies with the findings of human experimental and genetic association studies.Traditional views postulated an inverse relationship between 5-HT and aggression and suicidal behaviours; however, ample evidence has shown that this perspective may be overly simplistic, and that such pathological manifestations may reflect alterations in 5-HT homeostasis due to the interaction of genetic, environmental and gender-related factors, particularly during early critical developmental stages. The development of animal models that may capture the complexity of such interactions promises to afford a powerful tool to elucidate the pathophysiology of impulsive aggression and suicidability, and find new effective therapies for these conditions.
Bortolato, M., Pivac, N., Seler, D. M., Perkovic, M. N., Pessia, M., & Di Giovanni, G. (2013). The role of serotonergic system at the interface of aggression and suicide. Neuroscience, 236, 160–185. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroscience.2013.01.015
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