Family-based association study of serotonin transporter promoter in suicidal adolescents: No association with suicidality but possible role in violence traits

Gil Zalsman*, Amos Frisch, Michal Bromberg, Joel Gelernter, Elena Michaelovsky, Alon Campino, Zippy Erlich, Samuel Tyano, Alan Apter, Abraham Weizman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations


The serotonin transporter-linked promoter region polymorphism (5-HTTLPR) is thought to be associated with some serotonin dysfunction-related psychopathologies such as depression and anxiety disorders. Suicide and suicide-related behaviors such as violence, aggression, and impulsivity have been reproducibly associated with serotonin dysfunction and are partially genetic. This study examined the association of 5-HTTLPR with suicidal behavior and related traits in Israeli suicidal adolescent inpatients using the haplotype relative risk (HRR) method that controls for artifacts caused by population stratification. Forty-eight inpatient adolescents who recently attempted suicide were assessed by structured interviews for detailed clinical history, diagnoses, suicide intent, suicide risk, impulsivity, violence, and depression. Blood samples were collected and DNA extracted from patients and their biological parents. The 5-HTTLPR allele frequencies were tested for association with suicidality by the HRR method. In addition, the relationship between genotypes and phenotypic severity of several clinical parameters was analyzed. No significant allelic association of the 5-HTTLPR polymorphism with suicidal behavior was found (chi square=0.023; P=0.88). Analysis of variance of the suicide-related trait measures for the three genotypes demonstrated a significant difference in violence measures between patients carrying the LL and LS genotypes (9.50±4.04 vs. 5.36±4.03; P = 0.029). This study suggests that the 5-HTTLPR polymorphism is unlikely to have major relevance to the pathogenesis of suicidal behavior in adolescence but may contribute to violent behavior in this population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)239-245
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Medical Genetics, Part B: Neuropsychiatric Genetics
Issue number3
StatePublished - 8 Apr 2001


  • 5-HTTLPR
  • Adolescence
  • Aggression
  • Haplotype relative risk
  • Suicide
  • Violence

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