Future directions for serotonin and antidepressants

ACS Chem Neurosci. 2013 Jan 16;4(1):5-8. doi: 10.1021/cn3001125.


Despite the widespread use of antidepressant medications that block serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine; 5-HT) and/or norepinephrine (NE) transporters, such as SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) or SNRIs (serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors), the underlying neurobiological basis of action of these agents is poorly understood. Increases in serotonergic function are hypothesized to have beneficial effects on depressive symptoms. However, which of the 14 different neuronal receptors sensitive to 5-HT accounts for the therapeutic effects of SSRIs and SNRIs remains undetermined. The development of drugs that activate or block specific 5-HT receptors may help to circumvent the two main limitations of current antidepressants: low efficacy and delayed onset of therapeutic action. What follows is a short summary of the author's views on this matter.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic Uptake Inhibitors / chemistry
  • Adrenergic Uptake Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Antidepressive Agents / chemistry
  • Antidepressive Agents / pharmacology*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / drug therapy*
  • Drug Discovery / trends
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Agents / pharmacology
  • Forecasting
  • Humans
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / physiology
  • Receptors, Serotonin / physiology
  • Serotonin / physiology*
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors / chemistry
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors / pharmacology*


  • Adrenergic Uptake Inhibitors
  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Agents
  • Neurotransmitter Agents
  • Receptors, Serotonin
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors
  • Serotonin