Low plasma vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) associated with completed suicide

World J Biol Psychiatry. 2012 Sep;13(6):468-73. doi: 10.3109/15622975.2011.624549. Epub 2011 Nov 18.


Objectives: Immunological differences have previously been associated with depression and suicidal behaviour. Several cytokines have been identified as potentially important in understanding the pathophysiology of mood disorders and suicidality. Here we aimed to identify new inflammatory biomarkers for suicide prediction.

Methods: Plasma concentrations of interleukin (IL) 1-a , IL1-b, IL-2, IL-4, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, interferon-gamma (IFNG), tumor necrosis factor-a (TNF-a), monocyte chemotactic protein-1 (MCP-1), epidermal growth factor (EGF), and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) were measured in 58 suicide attempters with a high throughput automated biochip immunoassay system. Patients were evaluated using the Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) and the Suicide Intent Scale (SIS). All patients were followed up for cause of death.

Results: We found significantly lower levels of VEGF in the seven patients who upon a mean follow-up of 13 years were found to have completed suicide. VEGF also showed a trend for negative correlation with the planning subscale of SIS. A trend could be shown for lower IL-2 and for higher IFNG levels in suicide victims.

Conclusions: Our study provides further support for a role of inflammation in the pathophysiology of suicidality. VEGF may be related with suicide risk.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cytokines / blood
  • Cytokines / immunology
  • Depression / blood
  • Depression / immunology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / psychology*
  • Interleukins / blood
  • Interleukins / immunology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Suicide*
  • Suicide, Attempted*
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / blood*
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / immunology


  • Biomarkers
  • Cytokines
  • Interleukins
  • VEGFA protein, human
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A