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Neuroimaging of suicidal behaviour: Where does the field stand? 

Neuroimaging of suicidal behaviour: Where does the field stand?
Neuroimaging of suicidal behaviour: Where does the field stand?

Maria A Oquendo

, Tresha Gibbs

, and Ramin Parsey

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date: 25 June 2022

Consistent evidence implicates serotonin system dysfunction in the neurobiology of suicidal behaviour. Neuroimaging studies link brain structure and function in vivo and contribute to our understanding of neural pathways. Areas of the prefrontal cortex and limbic structures are targeted in neuroimaging studies of suicidal behaviour, which have focused on structural, haemodynamic, metabolic, and neuroreceptor changes in the brains of suicide attempters. Neuroimaging studies have revealed that signal hyperintensities, perfusion and metabolic abnormalities, processing of affect and serotonin receptor and transporter changes, may each play a role. Knowledge regarding the neurobiology of suicidal behaviour must rely on study designs utilizing robust methodologies, including improved patient and control group selection, improved neuroimaging techniques, and adequate statistical analysis to enhance the validity, consistency, and conclusiveness of the data. Ongoing development of new radioligands and imaging methodologies promise to enhance our ability to delineate the neurobiology of suicidal acts.

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