Serotonin modulation of the basal ganglia circuitry: therapeutic implication for Parkinson's disease and other motor disorders

Prog Brain Res. 2008:172:423-63. doi: 10.1016/S0079-6123(08)00921-7.


Several recent studies have emphasized a crucial role for the interactions between serotonergic and dopaminergic systems in movement control and the pathophysiology of basal ganglia. These observations are supported by anatomical evidence demonstrating large serotonergic innervation of all the basal ganglia nuclei. In fact, serotonergic terminals have been reported to make synaptic contacts with both substantia nigra dopamine-containing neurons and their terminal areas such as the striatum, the globus pallidus and the subthalamus. These brain areas contain a high concentration of serotonin (5-HT), with the substantia nigra pars reticulata receiving the greatest input. In this chapter, the distribution of different 5-HT receptor subtypes in the basal ganglia nuclei will be described. Furthermore, evidence demonstrating the serotonergic control of basal ganglia activity will be reviewed and the contribution of the different 5-HT receptor subtypes examined. The new avenues that the increasing knowledge of 5-HT in motor control has opened for exploring the pathophysiology and pharmacology of Parkinson's disease and other movement disorders will be discussed. It is clear that these avenues will be fruitful, despite the disappointing results so far obtained by clinical studies with selective 5-HT ligands. Nevertheless, these studies have led to a great increase in the attention given to the neurotransmitters of the basal ganglia and their connections.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antipsychotic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Basal Ganglia / anatomy & histology
  • Basal Ganglia / metabolism*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Dopamine / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Movement Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Movement Disorders / metabolism*
  • Movement Disorders / physiopathology
  • Neural Pathways / anatomy & histology
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Parkinson Disease / drug therapy*
  • Parkinson Disease / metabolism*
  • Parkinson Disease / physiopathology
  • Parkinson Disease / psychology
  • Protein Isoforms / metabolism
  • Receptors, Serotonin / metabolism
  • Serotonin / metabolism*
  • Serotonin Agents / therapeutic use*


  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Protein Isoforms
  • Receptors, Serotonin
  • Serotonin Agents
  • Serotonin
  • Dopamine