Cerebrospinal fluid glutamate concentration correlates with impulsive aggression in human subjects

J Psychiatr Res. 2013 Sep;47(9):1247-53. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2013.05.001. Epub 2013 Jun 18.


Neurochemical studies have pointed to a modulatory role in human aggression for various central neurotransmitters. Some (e.g., serotonin) appear to play an inhibitory role, while others appear to play a facilitator role. While recent animal studies of glutaminergic activity suggest a facilitator role for central glutamate in the modulation of aggression, no human studies of central glutaminergic indices have yet been reported regarding aggression. Basal lumbar cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) was obtained from 38 physically healthy subjects with DSM-IV Personality Disorder (PD: n = 28) and from Healthy Volunteers (HV: n = 10) and assayed for glutamate, and other neurotransmitters, in CSF and correlated with measures of aggression and impulsivity. CSF Glutamate levels did not differ between the PD and HC subjects but did directly correlate with composite measures of both aggression and impulsivity and a composite measure of impulsive aggression in both groups. These data suggest a positive relationship between CSF Glutamate levels and measures of impulsive aggression in human subjects. Thus, glutamate function may contribute to the complex central neuromodulation of impulsive aggression in human subjects.

Keywords: Aggression; CSF; Glutamate.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aggression*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Female
  • Glutamic Acid / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Humans
  • Impulsive Behavior / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Impulsive Behavior / psychology
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Neurotransmitter Agents
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Spinal Puncture
  • Suicidal Ideation
  • Young Adult


  • Neurotransmitter Agents
  • Glutamic Acid