Serotonin 5-HT(3) receptors in the central nervous system

Cell Tissue Res. 2006 Nov;326(2):573-81. doi: 10.1007/s00441-006-0255-8. Epub 2006 Jul 7.


The 5-HT(3) receptor is a ligand-gated ion channel activated by serotonin (5-HT). Although originally identified in the peripheral nervous system, the 5-HT(3) receptor is also ubiquitously expressed in the central nervous system. Sites of expression include several brain stem nuclei and higher cortical areas such as the amygdala, hippocampus, and cortex. On the subcellular level, both presynaptic and postsynaptic 5-HT(3) receptors can be found. Presynaptic 5-HT(3) receptors are involved in mediating or modulating neurotransmitter release. Postsynaptic 5-HT(3) receptors are preferentially expressed on interneurons. In view of this specific expression pattern and of the well-established role of 5-HT as a neurotransmitter shaping development, we speculate that 5-HT(3) receptors play a role in the formation and function of cortical circuits.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Central Nervous System / embryology
  • Central Nervous System / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation / physiology
  • Humans
  • Interneurons / metabolism
  • Peripheral Nervous System / embryology
  • Peripheral Nervous System / metabolism
  • Receptors, Serotonin / biosynthesis*
  • Serotonin / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • Synapses / metabolism*


  • Receptors, Serotonin
  • Serotonin