Peripheral-type benzodiazepine receptors (PBR) have been shown to be sensitive to stressful conditions. This study aimed to explore a possible association of platelets PBR binding with aggressive behavior and homicidal history in schizophrenia patients. The authors compared [3H] PK 11195 binding to platelet membrane among 11 currently aggressive schizophrenia patients, 15 schizophrenia patients with homicidal history, 14 nonaggressive schizophrenia patients, and 15 healthy volunteers. Subjects were assessed for aggressive behavior, psychopathology, anxiety, anger, and emotional distress using standardized instruments. We found that currently aggressive patients had significantly lower (-30%) platelet PBR density (Bmax), and scored significantly higher on hostility, anxiety, state anger, and emotional distress compared to homicidal and nonaggressive schizophrenia patients and healthy controls. Predominance of positive or negative symptoms, homicidal or suicidal attempt history, emotional distress levels, and conventional or atypical antipsychotic therapy is not associated with the expression of platelet PBR binding sites. Significant negative correlations emerged between PBR density and scores for aggressive behavior, hostility and anxiety. Thus, decreased platelet PBR density in aggressive schizophrenia patients is associated with higher scores for overt aggression, hostility and anxiety, but independent of illness subtype, homicidal and suicidal attempt history, distress level and type of antipsychotic treatment.
- Aggressive behavior
- Peripheral-type benzodiazepine receptors