Volume 9 Supplement 1

1 stInternational Congress on Neurobiology and Clinical Psychopharmacology and European Psychiatric Association Conference on Treatment Guidance

Open Access

The s allele of 5-HTTLPR: a possible common link in the background of endophenotypes related to suicidal behaviours?

  • Xenia Gonda1, 2,
  • Konstantinos Fountoulakis3,
  • Jaanus Harro4,
  • Maurizio Pompili5,
  • Gyorgy Bagdy1,
  • Kareen K Akiskal6,
  • Hagop S Akiskal6 and
  • Zoltan Rihmer2
Annals of General Psychiatry20109(Suppl 1):S189


Published: 22 April 2010


Suicide is complex phenomenon with multiple causes and underlying processes which is an equally great challenge for contemporary science and our society in general. Several models have been proposed to explain suicide and several studies aimed at delineating the factors and processes playing a role in its background. The most well-known and widely accepted risk factors of suicidal behaviour deal mainly with psychological and socioeconomic factors, however, we know less about the biological, neurochemical and genetic correlates and contributors of suicidality. Suicidality has been associated with impulsive aggression, and the majority of suicides are committed by depressive patients. Recently an increasing number of studies point to an association between certain types of suicidal behaviour. The suggestion that conflicting results may be due to inhomogenous suicidal samples indicates that different phenotypes of suicides may have profoundly different underlying factors even on the biochemical and genetic level. Research shows that the s allele of the 5-HTTLPR is associated with violent completed suicides. This polymorphism has also been related to affective disorders, however, evidence supports that the association between suicide and the s allele is independent of the association between the 5-HTTLPR and depression. The s allele is also associated with several traits, such as impulsive aggression, hopelessness and affective temperaments, which may serve as important endophenotypes in delineating the genetic background of different types of suicidal behaviour. Expanding our knowledge and understanding of the role of the serotonergic system in suicidal behaviour may lead to better recognition of suicide and of the prodromal symptoms of suicidal behaviour and may also play an important role in developing drugs with a potential to reduce suicidality.

Authors’ Affiliations

Department of Pharmacology and Pharmacotherapy, Semmelweis University
Department of Clinical and Theoretical Mental Health, Kutvolgyi Clinical Centre, Semmelweis University
3rd Department of Psychiatry, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
Department of Psychology, Center of Behavioral and Health Sciences, University of Tartu
Department of Psychiatry, Sant'Andrea Hospital, Sapienza University of Rome
International Mood Center


© Gonda et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2009

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd.