Prediction of level of serotonin 2A receptor binding by serotonin receptor 2A genetic variation in postmortem brain samples from subjects who did or did not commit suicide

Am J Psychiatry. 1999 Sep;156(9):1456-8. doi: 10.1176/ajp.156.9.1456.


Objective: Postmortem studies have indicated that suicide victims have greater serotonin receptor 2A (5-HTR2A) binding in prefrontal brain regions. However, there remains some controversy regarding the biological specificity of these findings. The authors hypothesized that the variance observed in brain 5-HTR2A binding is genetically mediated, at least in part.

Method: Postmortem data from 56 subjects who had committed suicide and 126 normal comparison subjects were studied; brain tissue was available from 11 subjects who committed suicide and 11 comparison subjects. Homogenate binding assays were carried out with [3H]ketanserin. Variation at the 5-HTR2A gene (HTR2A) was investigated by means of two polymorphisms: T102C and A-1438G.

Results: 5-HTR2A binding was greater in the prefrontal cortex of the subjects who committed suicide. In addition, the findings suggest that HTR2A variation significantly affects 5-HTR2A binding. However, no interaction between suicidal behavior and this locus was observed.

Conclusions: These results confirm previous reports of greater 5-HTR2A binding in subjects who committed suicide; they also provide preliminary evidence suggesting that the number of 5-HTR2A receptors is genetically mediated.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Genetic Variation / genetics*
  • Haplotypes
  • Humans
  • Ketanserin
  • Linkage Disequilibrium
  • Logistic Models
  • Polymorphism, Genetic / genetics
  • Prefrontal Cortex / chemistry*
  • Radioligand Assay
  • Receptor, Serotonin, 5-HT2A
  • Receptors, Serotonin / analysis
  • Receptors, Serotonin / genetics*
  • Serotonin Antagonists
  • Suicide / statistics & numerical data*


  • Receptor, Serotonin, 5-HT2A
  • Receptors, Serotonin
  • Serotonin Antagonists
  • Ketanserin