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Article |

Suicidality and 5-Hydroxyindoleacetic Acid Concentration Associated With a Tryptophan Hydroxylase Polymorphism

David A. Nielsen, PhD; David Goldman, MD; Matti Virkkunen, MD; Riitta Tokola, MD; Robert Rawlings, MS; Markku Linnoila, MD, PhD
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1994;51(1):34-38. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1994.03950010034005.
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Background:  To examine whether the tryptophan hydroxylase (TPH) gene, which codes for the rate-limiting enzyme in the biosynthesis of serotonin, may be a factor influencing serotonin turnover and behaviors controlled by serotonin.

Methods:  Using a polymerase chain reaction—based method, TPH genotype was determined in DNA samples from 56 impulsive and 14 nonimpulsive, alcoholic, violent offenders and 20 healthy volunteers.

Results:  In the behaviorally extreme impulsive group, we observed a significant association between TPH genotype and cerebrospinal fluid 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA) concentration. No association of TPH genotype with impulsive behavior was detected. The polymorphism was also associated with a history of suicide attempts in all violent offenders, independent of impulsivity status and cerebrospinal fluid 5-HIAA concentration.

Conclusion:  In some individuals, a genetic variant of the TPH gene may influence 5-HIAA concentration in the cerebrospinal fluid and predisposition to suicidal behavior.

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