A Slice of the Suicidal Brain: What Have Postmortem Molecular Studies Taught Us?

Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2016 Nov;18(11):98. doi: 10.1007/s11920-016-0736-8.


Suicide ranks amongst the leading causes of death worldwide. Contemporary models of suicide risk posit that suicide results from the interaction of distal and proximal factors, including neurobiological, psychological/clinical, and social factors. While a wealth of neurobiological studies aimed at identifying biological processes associated with suicidal behaviour have been conducted over the last decades, the more recent development of arrays and high-throughput sequencing methods have led to an increased capacity and interest in the study of genomic factors. Postmortem studies are a unique tool to directly investigate genomic processes that may be dysregulated in the suicidal brain. In this review, we discuss postmortem literature investigating functional genomic studies of suicide, particularly focusing on epigenetic mechanisms.

Keywords: Epigenetics; Genomics; Postmortem studies; Suicide.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Autopsy
  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Epigenomics
  • Gene Expression / genetics
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / genetics
  • Mental Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Mental Disorders / psychology*
  • Molecular Biology*
  • Suicide / psychology*