5-HT and depression: is the glass half-full?

Curr Opin Pharmacol. 2011 Feb;11(1):45-51. doi: 10.1016/j.coph.2011.02.003. Epub 2011 Mar 4.


Mood disorders such as major depression are common illnesses with considerable morbidity and significant mortality. A long-standing theory is that a breakdown in brain serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine; 5-HT) signalling is critically involved in the symptoms and drug treatment of clinical depression. However, the nature of this 5-HT defect has proved to be frustratingly elusive, and it remains unclear how the 5-HT signalling effects of antidepressant drugs might alter neuropsychological mechanisms to bring about relief of depressed mood. This article highlights recent discoveries that advance our understanding of how 5-HT-evoked changes at molecular, cellular and neuropsychological levels might interact to alleviate the symptoms of clinical depression.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antidepressive Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Brain / drug effects*
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Depression / drug therapy*
  • Depression / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Serotonin / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction


  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Serotonin