Serotonin and aggression

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2004 Dec:1036:382-92. doi: 10.1196/annals.1330.022.


The neurotransmitter serotonin (5-HT) has been implicated in the modulation of aggression in animals and humans. A longstanding dogma that aggression and serotonergic activity are inversely related has to be abandoned in light of many new findings. Trait and state aggression are differentially regulated by the 5-HT system and different 5-HT receptors seem to be involved. Of the 14 different 5-HT receptors, the 5-HT(1B) receptor, particularly the postsynaptically located 5-HT(1B) heteroreceptor, plays a highly selective role in the modulation of offensive aggression. We are still far from understanding the complex role played by the serotonergic system in the modulation of a complex set of behaviors like aggression.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aggression / psychology*
  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Humans
  • Receptor, Serotonin, 5-HT1A / genetics*
  • Receptor, Serotonin, 5-HT1B / genetics*
  • Serotonin / genetics*
  • Social Behavior Disorders / genetics*


  • Receptor, Serotonin, 5-HT1B
  • Receptor, Serotonin, 5-HT1A
  • Serotonin