Low serotonin neurotransmission is thought to increase vulnerability to suicidal behavior. To test this hypothesis, we measured brain regional serotonin synthesis, as indexed by PET and alpha-[(11)C]methyl-L-tryptophan trapping, in 10 patients who had made a high-lethality suicide attempt and 16 healthy controls. Compared to healthy controls, suicide attempters had reduced normalized alpha-[(11)C]methyl-L-tryptophan trapping in orbital and ventromedial prefrontal cortex. alpha-[(11)C]Methyl-L-tryptophan trapping in these regions correlated negatively with suicide intent. Low serotonin synthesis in the prefrontal cortex might lower the threshold for suicidal behavior.