Website Search

Flash Player may be required. Please install and enable Flash.

ID 813

The Serotonergic System

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter associated with a number of cognitive disorders, namely depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Professor Trevor Robbins explains how the serotoninergic system works.
The serotonergic system is one of the oldest of the amine systems in the brain. It is also one of the most mysterious. It is very hard to say in a few words what the serotonergic system does. It originates in two midbrain areas called the dorsal raphe and the median raphe. They both innervate forebrain and midbrain structures in kind of complementary ways that are a bit complicated to go into. The serotonin system seems to be very much involved in inhibition. It opposes, in function, most of the other amine systems and it’s inhibitory both in terms of sensory input and in behavioral output. So, let me try and illustrate that - LSD is a drug which works via serotonin receptors in the brain and of course it produces amazing visual hallucinations by working with serotonin receptors and presumably, disinhibiting those neurons. On the output side, we know that serotonin is very much involved in impulsivity, that is to say, behavior occurring without foresight. We know in our own research with rats that if rats have low serotonin, they simply can’t restrain themselves from responding when they shouldn’t. So, this is a very intriguing function in terms of psychopathology. And in indeed in human terms, serotonin functions have also been linked to aggression, for example. So, low serotonin produces behavioral disinhibition leading to aggression.
serotonin, serotoninergic, amine, system, receptor, bipolar, disorder, biochemistry, brain chemistry, serotonin, serotoninergic, system, neurotransmitter, schizophrenia, lsd, midbrain, neuron, inhibition, disinhibition, hallucination, hallucinogenic, drug, dorsal, median, raphe, aggression, trevor, robbins,
Creative Commons License This work by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Related content:

1183. Serotonin Hypothesis of Schizophrenia
Professor Jeffrey Lieberman discusses the serotonin hypothesis of schizophrenia. Drugs such as LSD and ecstasy block serotonin and produce schizophrenia-like symptoms.
2356. Biochemistry of Bipolar Disorder
Doctor Ellen Leibenluft discusses some of the biochemicals that have been associated with bipolar disorder, including dopamine, serotonin, and glutamate.
1151. GABA (Gamma-aminobutyric Acid)
Professor Trevor Robbins describes the GABA (or GABAergic) system, whose main function in the brain is inhibition.
811. The Glutamate System
Professor Trevor Robbins describes some of the key functions of the excitatory glutamate system, which is integral to information processing and long-term potentiation.
2223. Bipolar disorder
An overview of bipolar disorder-related content on Genes to Cognition Online.
2278. Positron Emission Tomography (PET) - Demonstration
Professor Wayne Drevets explains how positron emission tomography (PET) is used to examine biochemicals in the brain such as serotonin.
2358. Neurotransmitters Systems Work Together
Doctor Ellen Leibenluft explains that neurotransmitters and neuromodulators in the brain are heavily inter-connected and work together as a system.
1467. HTR2A Gene
Serotonin is critical to so many processes in the central nervous system and serotoninergic dysfunction has been heavily investigated as a cause for depression.
812. The Dopamine System
Professor Trevor Robbins explains that the dopamine system is a group of cells originating in the midbrain whose function may be to prepare the brain to think, move, and anticipate rewards.
918. 5-HTT Gene
The 5-HTT gene has been associated with both depression and autism.
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
CSHL HomeAbout CSHLResearchEducationPublic EventsNewsstandPartner With UsGiving