Completed suicide, depression, and RELN polymorphisms

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Suicidal behavior is a complex phenomenon, an outcome of both environmental and genetic factors. In the present study, we looked for a potential association between suicide and the reelin gene as reelin has been associated previously with several psychiatric disorders, including depression.

Materials and methods

We analyzed three single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the reelin gene, rs2965087, rs7341475, and rs362691, in a population of 483 suicide victims and 332 healthy controls, all Caucasians. An analysis was carried out according to sex and the method of suicide. In a group of 77 suicide victims with psychological autopsy data, suicide threats, suicide in the family, and number of depression symptoms were also considered.


Analysis of all three polymorphisms did not confirm an association with suicide in general. However, for subjects included in psychological autopsy study, association with previous announcement of suicide in the group of subjects with TT genotype for polymorphism rs2965087 was determined. Furthermore, the results pointed to an association with reported suicide in the family of suicide victims in case of the TT genotype. In contrast, the number of depressive symptoms, besides suicidal threats, was lower in the group with the TT genotype.


Psychological autopsies can be associated with recall bias and the sample was rather small and therefore underpowered.


The present investigation, performed on a study sample from a population with one of the highest suicide rates in the world, indicated an association between rs2965087 in the reelin gene and the expression of suicidal threats a month before suicide in contrast to other symptoms of depression.

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