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Post-mortem studies of serotonin in suicide 

Post-mortem studies of serotonin in suicide
Post-mortem studies of serotonin in suicide

Hélène Bach-Mizrachi

, Mark D Underwood

, J John Mann

, and Victoria Arango

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date: 05 July 2022

Abnormalities of the serotonergic system have been implicated in suicide. Post-mortem brain studies of suicides have begun to elucidate the underlying molecular changes in the brain serotonergic system that may provide an understanding of the biology of suicide. There is evidence for alterations in the presynaptic serotonin transporter and serotonergic receptors in both the serotonin-synthesizing neurons in the brainstem and their targets in the prefrontal cortex. Some of these changes may represent primary pathophysiology, while other changes may reflect homeostatic regulatory responses to low serotonin or even maladaptive nonspecific stress responses. We review the post-mortem studies of suicides and discuss a model of homeostatic plasticity in the human brain in a serotonin-deficient environment.

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