It is now nearly 5 years since the last of the currently recognised 5-HT receptors was identified in terms of its cDNA sequence. Over this period, much effort has been directed towards understanding the function attributable to individual 5-HT receptors in the brain. This has been helped, in part, by the synthesis of a number of compounds that selectively interact with individual 5-HT receptor subtypes--although some 5-HT receptors still lack any selective ligands (e.g. 5-ht1E, 5-ht5A and 5-ht5B receptors). The present review provides background information for each 5-HT receptor subtype and subsequently reviews in more detail the functional responses attributed to each receptor in the brain. Clearly this latter area has moved forward in recent years and this progression is likely to continue given the level of interest associated with the actions of 5-HT. This interest is stimulated by the belief that pharmacological manipulation of the central 5-HT system will have therapeutic potential. In support of which, a number of 5-HT receptor ligands are currently utilised, or are in clinical development, to reduce the symptoms of CNS dysfunction.