Falk Lohoff, M.D.

Falk Lohoff, MD, University of Pennsylvania

Young Investigator Grant (2010): $85,000

Mentor: Wade Berrettini, M.D., Ph.D.

Global Expression Analysis of Patients with Treatment Emergent Suicidal Ideations

Abstract: Suicidal thoughts emerging during antidepressant treatment, while controversial, have led to black box warnings and concern about suicide risk in patients treated for major depression. Yet, little is known about the mechanism by which antidepressants might provoke suicidal thinking, at least in vulnerable patients. This proposal aims to address this issue. If successful, the project could shed light on mechanisms and nominate peripheral biomarkers that could be used to identify patients at high risk. The main objective of the grant is to determine differences in baseline and serotonin-induced global gene expression in lymphoblastoid cell lines from major depressive subjects that developed treatment emergent suicide ideation (TESI) relative to major depressive subjects that did not develop suicide ideation. All patient recruitment has been completed from the STAR*D trial and clinical as well as lymphoblastoid cell lines are available. Gene expression will be evaluated in 22 patients with MDD+TESI and 22 patients without MDD+TESI. Subjects will be matched for severity based on the HAM-D baseline scores, and for age, gender and family history of suicide.