Concentration of 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA), homovanillic acid (HVA), and tryptophan (TRP) were determined in the frontal cortex of individuals who died by suicide, homocide, accident, or the result of physical diseases. Females had significantly higher tryptophan concentrations than males. There was a significant correlation between HVA and the interval between death to refrigeration of the body. Mean HVA levels were higher from noon to 5 PM. Suicide and homicide victims had significantly higher cortical HVA concentrations than those who died of physical disease but not accident victims. This was not accounted for by gender, age, postmortem interval from death to refrigeration of the body or to autopsy, specimen storage time, or drug effects. The ratio of HVA/5-HIAA was also significantly higher in suicides compared with those who died of physical disease. No differences in cortical 5-HIAA or tryptophan concentrations between the four groups were found. There were no differences in the levels of the three substances in violent and nonviolent suicides. There were no significant correlations between 5-HIAA, HVA and TRP concentrations in all subjects or ant of the four subgroups. The implications of these findings for the role of serotonin and dopamine in suicide and violence are discussed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biological Psychiatry