BACKGROUND There is some evidence that low lipid levels cause suicide in depressed patients. The purpose of this study was to identify whether low serum lipid levels are associated with suicide ideation or are correlated with central serotonin function. METHODS Auditory processing for the loudness dependence of auditory evoked potentials (LDAEP) was measured in 73 outpatients with major depressive disorder. The Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAMD) and the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) were administered on the same day as measurement of the LDAEP. In addition, serum levels of total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL), high-density lipoprotein (HDL), and triglyceride (TG) levels were measured. All subjects had received antidepressant monotherapy. RESULTS The depressed subjects were divided into those with and without suicide ideation according to the score for HAMD item 3 or BDI item 9. TG levels differed significantly between the two groups, whereas body mass index (BMI), total cholesterol, LDL, HDL, and LDAEP did not. The scores for HAMD item 3 and BDI item 9 were negatively correlated with TG levels (p=0.045 and 0.026, respectively). The LDAEP was negatively correlated with TG levels (p=0.012). Although there was tendency toward a negative correlation between the LDAEP and serum LDL, it did not reach statistical significance (p=0.068). LIMITATIONS The cross-sectional design of this study means that baseline serum lipid levels were not measured. CONCLUSION The findings of this study revealed a relationship between TG and suicide ideation that is independent of both BMI and body weight. Furthermore, serum lipid levels were associated with central serotonergic activity, as assessed using the LDAEP.