Toxoplasmosis Titers and past Suicide Attempts Among Older Adolescents Initiating SSRI Treatment
Coryell, W., Yolken, R., Butcher, B., Burns, T., Dindo, L., Schlechte, J., Calarge, C.
Archives of Suicide Research 2016; 20: 605-613
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Latent infection with toxoplasmosis is a prevalent condition that has been linked in animal studies to high-risk behaviors, and in humans, to suicide and suicide attempts. This analysis investigated a relationship between suicide attempt history and toxoplasmosis titers in a group of older adolescents who had recently begun treatment with an SSRI. Of 108 participants, 17 (15.7%) had a lifetime history of at least one suicide attempt. All were given structured and unstructured diagnostic interviews and provided blood samples. Two individuals (11.9%) with a past suicide attempt, and two (2.1%) without this history, had toxoplasmosis titers >= 10 IU/ml (p = 0.166). Those with a past suicide attempt had mean toxoplasmosis titers that were significantly different (p = 0.018) from those of patients who lacked this history. An ROC analysis suggested a lower optimal threshold for distinguishing patients with and without suicide attempts (3.6 IU/ml) than that customarily used to identify seropositivity. Toxoplasmosis titers may quantify a proneness to suicidal behavior in younger individuals being treated with antidepressants.