Low CSF oxytocin reflects high intent in suicide attempters.Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2012 Apr; 37(4):482-90.P
Data from animal studies suggest that oxytocin is an important modulating neuropeptide in regulation of social interaction. One human study has reported a negative correlation between CSF oxytocin levels, life history of aggression and suicidal behaviour. We hypothesized that CSF oxytocin levels would be related to suicidal behaviour, suicide intent, lifetime interpersonal violence and suicide risk. 28 medication free suicide attempters and 19 healthy volunteers participated in this cross sectional and longitudinal study. CSF and plasma morning basal levels of oxytocin were assessed with specific radio-immunoassays. The Beck Suicide Intent Scale (SIS), the Freeman scale and the Karolinska Interpersonal Violence Scale (KIVS) were used to assess suicide intent and lifetime violent behaviour. All patients were followed up for cause of death. The mean follow-up was 21 years. Suicide attempters had lower CSF oxytocin levels compared to healthy volunteers p=0.077. In suicide attempters CSF oxytocin showed a significant negative correlation with the planning subscale of SIS. CSF oxytocin showed a significant negative correlation with suicide intent, the planning subscale of SIS and Freeman interruption probability in male suicide attempters. Correlations between plasma oxytocin levels and the planning subscale of SIS and Freeman interruption probability were significant in male suicide attempters. Lifetime violent behaviour showed a trend to negative correlation with CSF oxytocin. In the regression analysis suicide intent remained a significant predictor of CSF oxytocin corrected for age and gender whereas lifetime violent behaviour showed a trend to be a predictor of CSF oxytocin. Oxytocin levels did not differ significantly in suicide victims compared to survivors. CSF oxytocin may be an important modulator of suicide intent and interpersonal violence in suicide attempters.