Teenage suicide is a major public health concern, but its neurobiology is not well understood. Proinflammatory cytokines play an important role in stress and in the pathophysiology of depression-two major risk factors for suicide. Cytokines are increased in the serum of patients with depression and suicidal behavior; however, it is not clear if similar abnormality in cytokines occurs in brains of suicide victims. We therefore measured the gene and protein expression levels of proinflammatory cytokines interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, and tissue necrosis factor (TNF)-α in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) of 24 teenage suicide victims and 24 matched normal control subjects. Our results show that the mRNA and protein expression levels of IL-1β, IL-6, and TNF-α were significantly increased in Brodmann area 10 (BA-10) of suicide victims compared with normal control subjects. These results suggest an important role for IL-1β, IL-6, and TNF-α in the pathophysiology of suicidal behavior and that proinflammatory cytokines may be an appropriate target for developing therapeutic agents.
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