Environment and the serotonergic system

Eur Psychiatry. 2010 Jun;25(5):304-6. doi: 10.1016/j.eurpsy.2009.12.017. Epub 2010 May 5.


In summary, genetics, as well as foetal and early life environmental factors shape the size or capacity of our monoamine systems, of which the serotonergic one might play a leading role. Those constitutional properties then form the biological basis for personality traits, such as impulsiveness and "sensation seeking", which interact with psychosocial settings and life events to form a pattern of reactivity to a current life event or psychosocial situation, shown as a high or low order of magnitude of gene-environment interaction. In the present paper emphasis is put on the role of genotypes of the serotonin transporter, of monoamine oxidases A and B, and of platelet monoamine oxidase B activity, which all have been shown to be of importance for behaviour and with obvious effects of interactions with environment. Under unfortunate circumstances constitutional properties might be strong enough to result in vulnerability for suicide, even with a modest influence of environment.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Monoamine Oxidase / genetics
  • Personality / genetics
  • Serotonin / genetics*
  • Serotonin Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins / genetics
  • Social Environment*
  • Suicide*


  • Serotonin Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Serotonin
  • Monoamine Oxidase