Serotonin in pain and analgesia: actions in the periphery

Mol Neurobiol. 2004 Oct;30(2):117-25. doi: 10.1385/MN:30:2:117.


The purpose of this article is to summarize recent findings on the role of serotonin in pain processing in the peripheral nervous system. Serotonin (5-hydroxtryptamine [5-HT]) is present in central and peripheral serotonergic neurons, it is released from platelets and mast cells after tissue injury, and it exerts algesic and analgesic effects depending on the site of action and the receptor subtype. After nerve injury, the 5-HT content in the lesioned nerve increases. 5-HT receptors of the 5-HT3 and 5-HT2A subtype are present on C-fibers. 5-HT, acting in combination with other inflammatory mediators, may ectopically excite and sensitize afferent nerve fibers, thus contributing to peripheral sensitization and hyperalgesia in inflammation and nerve injury.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics / therapeutic use*
  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Pain / drug therapy*
  • Pain / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Serotonin
  • Serotonin / metabolism*


  • Analgesics
  • Receptors, Serotonin
  • Serotonin