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Keywords:

  • serotonin;
  • attempted suicide;
  • candidate genes;
  • TPH polymorphism

Abstract

Tryptophan hydroxylase (TPH) has been the candidate gene of focus in many of the association studies of suicidal behavior in recent years. Initial positive findings with respect to an association between the TPH gene and suicidal behavior have been replicated, but not consistently. Typically, individual studies have investigated small samples, and thus they repeatedly had insufficient statistical power to detect a positive association. Meta-analysis is one approach that can be used to achieve greater statistical power and may be helpful in providing a more conclusive understanding. We used meta-analytic techniques to investigate the association between an intron 7 polymorphism in the TPH gene and suicidal behavior. A total of 39 publications were identified and reviewed, 17 of which were selected for inclusion in this study. We performed two meta-analyses. One compared suicide attempters or completers (N = 1,290) with healthy controls (N = 2,295); the other compared suicide attempters (N = 625) with nonattempters (N = 1,475). None of these studies provided evidence for association (odds ratio (OR) = 1.14, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.97–1.34 for the former and OR = 0.96, 95% CI = 0.77–1.20 for the latter). The combined results from comparisons within both groups showed no overall association between suicidal behavior and an intron 7 polymorphism of the TPH gene. © 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.