Cerebrospinal fluid substance P-like immunoreactivity correlates with aggression in personality disordered subjects

Emil F. Coccaro, Royce Lee, Michael J. Owens, Becky Kinkead, Charles B. Nemeroff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Background: Neurochemical studies have pointed to a modulatory role in human aggression for a variety of central neurotransmitters; some seem to play an inhibitory role, whereas others seem to play a facilitory role in the modulation of aggression. Laboratory animal studies of substance P suggest a facilitory role for this undecapeptide in the modulation of aggression, but no studies of substance P have yet been reported with regard to human aggression. Methods: Basal lumbar cerebrospinal fluid samples were obtained from 38 physically healthy subjects with personality disorder (PD) and substance P-like immunoreactivity was measured and correlated with measures of aggression and impulsivity. Results: The cerebrospinal fluid substance P-like immunoreactivity levels were directly correlated with a composite measure of aggression and, more specifically, with Buss-Durkee Aggression. No correlation was seen with any measure of impulsivity or of general dimensions of personality. Conclusions: These data suggest a direct relationship between central nervous system substance P containing neural circuits and aggression in human subjects. This finding adds to the complex picture of the central neuromodulatory role of impulsive aggression in human subjects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)238-243
Number of pages6
JournalBiological Psychiatry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 2012


  • Aggression
  • CSF
  • impulsivity
  • neurokinin-1
  • personality
  • substance P

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biological Psychiatry


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