Gender, personality, and serotonin-2A receptor binding in healthy subjects

Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.
Psychiatry Research (Impact Factor: 2.68). 12/2009; 181(1):77-84. DOI: 10.1016/j.pscychresns.2009.08.007
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The vulnerability to mood disorders, impulsive-aggression, eating disorders, and suicidal behavior varies greatly with gender, and may reflect gender differences in central serotonergic function. We investigated the relationships of gender, mood, impulsivity, aggression and temperament to 5HT(2A) receptor binding in 21 healthy subjects using [18F]altanserin and PET neuroimaging. Binding potentials in pre-defined regions-of-interest (ROI) were calculated using the Logan graphical method, corrected for partial volume effects, and compared by gender with age co-varied. SPM analysis was used for voxel level comparisons. Altanserin binding (BP(P)) was greater in male than female subjects in the following nine ROIs: hippocampus (HIP) and Lt. HIP, lateral orbital frontal cortex (LOF) and Lt. LOF, left medial frontal cortex (Lt. MFC), left medial temporal cortex (Lt. MTC), left occipital cortex (Lt. OCC), thalamus (THL) and Lt. THL. Differences in Lt. HIP and Lt. MTL remained significant after Bonferroni correction. Gender differences were noted in the co-variation of psychological traits with BP(P) values in specific ROIs. Among males alone, aggression was negatively correlated with BP(P) values in Lt. LOF and Lt. MFC, and Suspiciousness positively correlated in LOF, Lt. LOF and Lt. MFC. Among female subjects alone, Negativism was positively correlated with BP(P) values in HIP, and Verbal Hostility in Lt. HIP. Altanserin binding in Lt. MTC was positively correlated with Persistence, with no significant gender effect. Gender differences in 5HT(2A) receptor function in specific ROIs may mediate expression of psychological characteristics such as aggression, suspiciousness and negativism. Future studies of 5HT(2A) receptor function and its relationship to behavior should control for gender.

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    • "For example, low levels of 5-HT 2A binding potential have been found in the PFC of violent aggressive individuals (Meyer et al., 2008). In males, a negative correlation was found between 5-HT 2A binding in left orbital and medial frontal cortex and aggression severity (Soloff et al., 2010). In contrast with these data, prefrontal 5-HT 2 binding (as tested by 3 H ketanserin) has been found to be directly correlated with lifetime aggression scores in suicidal subjects (but not in their controls) (Oquendo et al., 2006); furthermore, 5-HT 2A receptor availability in the OFC has been recently correlated with a state measure of impulsive aggression (Rosell et al., 2010). "
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