Aggression, suicide, and serotonin: relationships to CSF amine metabolites

Am J Psychiatry. 1982 Jun;139(6):741-6. doi: 10.1176/ajp.139.6.741.


In an earlier, separate study, the authors found that human aggression and suicide (a specific aggression-related behavior) were associated with lower levels of CSF 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA), a serotonin metabolite. That study focused on subjects with personality disorders without affective illness. In the present study they examine the life history of aggression and history of suicidal behavior in 12 subjects with borderline personality disorders without major affective disorder. Histories of aggressive behaviors and of suicide attempts were significantly associated with each other, and each was significantly associated with lower 5-HIAA levels. Altered serotonin metabolism may be a highly significant contributing factor to these behaviors in whatever diagnostic group they occur.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aggression / physiology*
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder / psychology
  • Borderline Personality Disorder / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Borderline Personality Disorder / psychology
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Homovanillic Acid / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Humans
  • Hydroxyindoleacetic Acid / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Male
  • Methoxyhydroxyphenylglycol / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Phenylacetates / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Schizoid Personality Disorder / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Schizoid Personality Disorder / psychology
  • Serotonin / metabolism*
  • Suicide / psychology*


  • Phenylacetates
  • Serotonin
  • Methoxyhydroxyphenylglycol
  • Hydroxyindoleacetic Acid
  • Homovanillic Acid