5-Hydroxytryptamine-interacting drugs in animal models of anxiety disorders: more than 30 years of research

Pharmacol Ther. 1995 Mar;65(3):319-95. doi: 10.1016/0163-7258(95)98597-j.


An overview of the behavioral data arising from the vast literature concerning the involvement of 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) neurotransmission in the regulation of anxiety is presented. More than 1300 experiments were carried out in this area and they provide evidence that: (1) results obtained in ethologically based animal models of anxiety with drugs stimulating 5-HT transmission are most consistent with the classic 5-HT hypothesis of anxiety in that they show an increase in animals' emotional reactivity; (2) no category of anti-anxiety models are selectively sensitive to the anxiolytic-like effects of drugs targetting 5-HT1A, 5-HT2A or 5-HT2C receptor subtypes; (3) anxiolytic-like effects of 5-HT3 receptor antagonists, in the great part, are revealed by models based on spontaneous behaviors. Taken together, these observations lead to the conclusion that different 5-HT mechanisms, mediated by different receptor subtypes, are involved in the genesis of anxiety.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Anxiety Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Anxiety Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Anxiety Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Serotonin / physiology*


  • Anti-Anxiety Agents
  • Serotonin