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Postmortem-Assessed Impairment of Neuronal Activity in Depression: The Dominant Impact of Suicide

[ Vol. 12 , Issue. 7 ]


Tomasz Gos, Johann Steiner, Zbigniew Jankowski and Bernhard Bogerts   Pages 930 - 935 ( 6 )


We report recent postmortem findings from the Magdeburg Brain Bank related to the evaluation of impaired activity of neuronal networks relevant for depression. Chronic changes in ribosomal DNA transcriptional activity have been revealed by the quantitative evaluation of silver-stained nucleolar organising regions (AgNORs). Abnormalities in AgNOR parameters have been found in neurons of the prefrontal limbic regions, the amygdala, the external globus pallidus, and the serotonergic dorsal raphe nucleus (DRN). The impact of the processes leading to suicide has been clearly accentuated in opposition to the weak influence of unipolar-bipolar dichotomy, which was only revealed in one area (the anterior cingulate cortex). The impact of suicide was most pronounced in the DRN. Our AgNOR studies show that the influence of psychotropic medication (antidepressants and typical neuroleptics, among others) is limited in the prevention of abnormal neuronal activity specific for suicide.


Depression, suicide, unipolar-bipolar dichotomy, postmortem, AgNOR staining.


Department of Forensic Medicine, Medical University of Gdansk, ul. Debowa 23, 80-204 Gdansk, Poland.

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