Neuropharmacology of 5-hydroxytryptamine
L Richard Green A.
1Global Discovery CNS and Pain Control,
AstraZeneca R&D Charnwood, Bakewell Road,
Loughborough LE11 5RH.
Br J Pharmacol. 2006 Jan;147 Suppl 1:S145-52.


This review outlines the history of our knowledge of the neuropharmacology of 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT; serotonin), focusing primarily on the work of U.K. scientists. The existence of a vasoconstrictive substance in the blood has been known for over 135 years. The substance was named serotonin and finally identified as 5-HT in 1949. The presence of 5-HT in the brain was reported by Gaddum in 1954 and it was Gaddum who also demonstrated that the action of 5-HT (in the gut) was antagonised by the potent hallucinogen lysergic acid diethylamide. This provoked the notion that 5-HT played a pivotal role in the control of mood and subsequent investigations have generally confirmed this hypothesis. Over the last 50 years a good understanding has been gained of the mechanisms involved in control of the storage, synthesis and degradation of 5-HT in the brain. Knowledge has also been gained on control of the functional activity of this monoamine, often by the use of behavioural models. A considerable literature also now exists on the mechanisms by which many of the drugs used to treat psychiatric illness alter the functional activity of 5-HT, particularly the drugs used to treat depression. Over the last 20 years the number of identified 5-HT receptor subtypes has increased from 2 to 14, or possibly more. A major challenge now is to utilise this knowledge to develop receptor-specific drugs and use the information gained to better treat central nervous system disorders
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