Amine Receptors in CNS. III. 5-Hydroxytryptamine in Brain

  • George K. Aghajanian
  • Henry J. Haigler
  • James L. Bennett
Part of the Handbook of Psychopharmacology book series (HBKPS, volume 6)


The nature and scope of this topic largely depend on how one defines 5-hydroxytryptamine (serotonin, 5-HT) “receptors.” If one accepts as evidence for the existence of 5-HT receptors merely the fact that a cell responds to 5-HT regardless of dose, route of administration, or region of brain, then the topic becomes a broad one indeed. However, the physiological significance of 5-HT receptors so defined is rather doubtful if the sites in question are not normally acted on by 5-HT. A more meaningful study of 5-HT receptors would be closely linked to the identification of physiological sites of 5-HT action. In this context, of prime importance is the question of whether 5-HT functions primarily as a neurotransmitter in the brain. Although it has been known for many years that 5-HT is present in brain (Twarog and Page, 1953; Amin et al., 1954), it was not until recently that brain 5-HT was shown to be primarily a constituent of neuronal cells. This essential fact was finally uncovered as a result of direct histochemical studies. Even prior to the histochemical work, however, Heller et al. (1962) and Heller and Moore (1965) showed that several days after a lesion was made in the medial forebrain bundle a widespread depletion of forebrain 5-HT occurred. The rate of 5-HT depletion had a time course corresponding to the rate of neuronal degeneration, implying that 5-HT neuronal pathways were present in the brain.


Raphe Nucleus Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitor Dorsal Raphe Nucleus Postsynaptic Neuron Excitatory Response 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • George K. Aghajanian
    • 1
  • Henry J. Haigler
    • 1
  • James L. Bennett
    • 1
  1. 1.Yale University School of MedicineNew HavenUSA

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