Characterizing inflammatory profiles of suicidal behavior in adolescents: Rationale and design

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Background: The suicide rate in youth and young adults continues to climb – we do not understand why this increase is occurring, nor do we have adequate tools to predict or prevent it. Increased efforts to treat underlying depression and other disorders that are highly associated with suicide have had limited impact, despite considerable financial investments in developing and disseminating available methods. Thus, there is a tremendous need to identify potential markers of suicide behavior for youth during this high-risk period. Methods: Funded by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), this study aims to map immune dysfunction to suicidal behavior and establish a reliable immune signature of suicide risk that can 1) guide future research into fundamental pathophysiology and 2) identify targets for drug development. The study design is an observational study where blood samples and a comprehensive array of clinical measures are collected from three groups of adolescents (n = 75 each) (1) with suicidal behavior [recent (within 3 months) suicide attempt or suicidal ideation warranting urgent evaluation,] (2) at risk for mood disorders, and (3) who are healthy (no psychiatric history). Participants will complete self-report and clinical assessments, along with a blood draw, at baseline, 3 months, 6 months and 12 months, and online self-report assessments once a month. Results: The recruitment for this study is ongoing. Limitations: Observational, variability in treatment regimens. Conclusions: This study will help elucidate immune mechanisms that may play a causal role in suicide and serve as targets for future therapeutic development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-61
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of affective disorders
StatePublished - Mar 15 2023


  • Adolescents
  • Immune dysfunction
  • Observational
  • Suicide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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