The risk of suicide among individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is much higher than the general population, but identifying those individuals at greatest risk has been difficult. However, a team at Yale has discover a biological marker link to individuals with PTSD who are most likely to think about suicide, the researchers report May 13 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The most commonly use method of suicide varies between countries; also is partly related to the availability of effective means. Common methods of suicide include hanging, pesticide poisoning, and firearms. Suicides result in 828,000 global deaths in 2015, an increase from 712,000 deaths in 1990. This makes suicide the 10th leading cause of death worldwide.

Factor for suicidal ideation

Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an important risk factor for suicidal ideation, attempts, and death by suicide. Understanding of the biology underlying suicidality in PTSD is limited. In this study, they use positron emission tomography to evaluate the metabotropic glutamate receptor type 5 (mGluR5) as a potential treatment target and biomarker of suicidal ideation in individuals with PTSD and major depressive disorder (MDD).

They find higher availability of mGluR5 in individuals with PTSD relative to healthy control and MDD groups. Furthermore, higher mGluR5 availability was associate with scan-day suicidal ideation among individuals with PTSD, but not MDD. Findings identify mGluR5 as a biomarker for intervention and potentially suicide risk management in PTSD.

Researchers use PET imaging to measure levels of metabotropic glutamatergic receptor 5 (mGluR5) which has implicate in anxiety and mood disorders in individuals with PTSD and major depressive disorder. They find high levels of mGluR5 in the PTSD group with current suicidal thoughts. They find no such elevate levels in the PTSD group with no suicidal thoughts or in those with depression, with or without current suicidal thoughts.

Approve treatments for PTSD

There are two FDA approve treatments for PTSD; so both of which are anti depressants. It can take weeks or months to determine whether they are effective. Hence that can be too late for those who are suicidal, note the researchers. If you have people who suffer from high blood pressure; so you want to reduce those levels right away, said Irina Esterlis, associate professor of psychiatry at Yale and senior author of the study. They don’t have that option with PTSD.
Esterlis said testing for levels of mGluR5 in people who have experience severe trauma; hence might help identify those at greatest risk of harming themselves and prompt psychiatric interventions. Also, researchers might investigate ways to regulate levels mGluR5 with hopes of minimizing suicide risk in PTSD patients, they said.