Numerous studies indicate that the serotonergic (5-HT) transmitter system is involved in the regulation of impulsive aggression and there is from post-mortem, in vivo imaging and genetic studies evidence that the 5-HT2A receptor may be involved. We investigated 94 healthy individuals (60 men, mean age 47.0±18.7, range 23-86) to determine if trait aggression and trait impulsivity were related to frontal cortex 5-HT2A receptor binding (5-HT2AR) as measured with [(18)F]-altanserin PET imaging. Trait aggression and trait impulsivity were assessed with the Buss-Perry Aggression Questionnaire (AQ) and the Barratt Impulsiveness Scale 11 (BIS-11). Statistical analyses were conducted using a multiple linear regression model and internal consistency reliability of the AQ and BIS-11 was evaluated by Cronbach's alpha. Contrary to our hypothesis, results revealed no significant associations between 5-HT2AR and the AQ or BIS-11 total scores. Also, there was no significant interaction between gender and frontal cortex 5-HT2AR in predicting trait aggression and trait impulsivity. This is the first study to examine how 5-HT2AR relates to trait aggression and trait impulsivity in a large sample of healthy individuals. Our findings are not supportive of a selective role for 5-HT2AR in mediating the 5-HT related effects on aggression and impulsivity in psychiatrically healthy individuals.
Psychiatry Research, 2013, Vol 212, Issue 2, p. 125-131