Homicide, suicide and CSF 5-HIAA

Acta Psychiatr Scand. 1985 Mar;71(3):230-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0447.1985.tb01279.x.


Concentrations of 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA), homovanillic acid (HVA), and 4-hydroxy-3-methoxyphenyl glycol (HMPG) in lumbar spinal fluid were measured by mass fragmentography in 16 men convicted for criminal homicide, 22 men who had attempted suicide, and 39 healthy male control subjects. Those men who had killed a sexual partner, and those who had attempted suicide, had lower levels of the serotonin metabolite, 5-HIAA in spinal fluid than the controls. It is suggested that low levels of 5-HIAA in spinal fluid reflect a disorder of serotonin turnover, which makes the individual more prone to acts of violence in states of emotional turmoil.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aggression / physiology
  • Alcoholism / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Homicide*
  • Homovanillic Acid / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Humans
  • Hydroxyindoleacetic Acid / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Male
  • Methoxyhydroxyphenylglycol / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Middle Aged
  • Suicide, Attempted*


  • Methoxyhydroxyphenylglycol
  • Hydroxyindoleacetic Acid
  • Homovanillic Acid