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J Psychiatry Neurosci. 1995 July; 20(4): 271–275.
PMCID: PMC1188701

Low brain serotonin turnover rate (low CSF 5-HIAA) and impulsive violence.


The findings of a series of studies by the authors support the idea that most impulsive offenders who have a tendency to behave aggressively while intoxicated have a low brain serotonin turnover rate. The impulsive violent offenders with the lowest CSF 5-HIAA concentrations have diurnal activity rhythm disturbances, and are also prone to hypoglycemia after an oral glucose challenge. Low CSF 5-HIAA combined with hyoglycemic tendency also predicts future violence under the influence of alcohol. Sons of alcoholic fathers, who have committed violent crimes, have very low CSF 5-HIAA concentrations. Vagal tone does not correlate significantly with CSF 5-HIAA but correlates with enhanced insulin secretion, which is most prominent in subjects with intermittent explosive disorder. A polymorphism of tryptophan hydroxylase (TPH) gene is associated with low CSF 5-HIAA and a history of suicide attempts.

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Selected References

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