Fluoxetine increases relative metabolic rate in prefrontal cortex in impulsive aggression

Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2004 Nov;176(3-4):451-8. doi: 10.1007/s00213-004-1913-8. Epub 2004 May 25.


Rationale: Impulsive aggressive personality disordered patients have been shown to have decreased relative glucose metabolism in orbito-frontal cortex and anterior cingulate gyrus compared with normal subjects. In addition, patients with impulsive aggression have an attenuation of symptoms with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) treatment.

Objectives: The goals of the present study were to attempt to replicate the finding of improvement in impulsive aggression in borderline personality disorder with SSRIs and to investigate the specific cortical areas modified by medication, which might underlie the observed clinical improvement using (18)FDG-PET.

Methods: Ten impulsive aggressive patients with borderline personality disorder were imaged with (18)F-deoxyglucose positron emission tomography at baseline and after receiving fluoxetine at 20 mg/day for 12 weeks. Anatomical MRIs were coregistered to PET and relative metabolic rates were obtained in 39 Brodmann areas.

Results: Brodmann areas 11 and 12 in the orbito-frontal cortex showed significant increases in relative metabolic rate. Significant clinical improvement was also observed as assessed by the Overt Aggression Scale-Modified.

Conclusions: These changes are consistent with a normalizing effect of fluoxetine on prefrontal cortex metabolism in impulsive aggressive disorder.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aggression / drug effects
  • Aggression / physiology*
  • Aggression / psychology
  • Antidepressive Agents, Second-Generation / adverse effects
  • Antidepressive Agents, Second-Generation / therapeutic use*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18
  • Fluoxetine / adverse effects
  • Fluoxetine / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Impulsive Behavior / diagnostic imaging
  • Impulsive Behavior / metabolism*
  • Impulsive Behavior / psychology
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Prefrontal Cortex / diagnostic imaging
  • Prefrontal Cortex / drug effects
  • Prefrontal Cortex / metabolism*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Radionuclide Imaging
  • Radiopharmaceuticals


  • Antidepressive Agents, Second-Generation
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Fluoxetine
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18