Imaging of Seasonal Affective Disorder and Seasonality Effects on Serotonin and Dopamine Function in the Human Brain

Part of the Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences book series (CTBN, volume 11)


According to current knowledge, disturbances in brain monoamine transmission play a major role in many psychiatric disorders, and many of the radioligands used for investigating these disorders bind to targets within the brain monoamine systems. However, a phylogenetically ancient and prevailing function of monoamines is to mediate the adaptation of organisms and cells to rhythmical changes in light conditions, and to other environmental rhythms, such as changes in temperature, or the availability of energy resources throughout the seasons. The physiological systems mediating these changes are highly conserved throughout species, including humans. Here we review the literature on seasonal changes in binding of monoaminergic ligands in the human brain. Moreover, we argue for the importance of considering possible effects of season when investigating brain monoamines in healthy subjects and subjects with psychiatric disorders.


PET SPECT monoamine transporters season SAD 



We wish to thank Dr. Jan Kalbitzer for kindly providing Fig. 2 of this manuscript.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biological PsychiatryMedical University ViennaViennaAustria

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