A critical review of 5-HT brain microdialysis and behavior

Rev Neurosci. Apr-Jun 1997;8(2):117-37. doi: 10.1515/revneuro.1997.8.2.117.


Serotonin (5-HT) has been implicated in many central nervous system-mediated functions including sleep, arousal, feeding, motor activity and the stress response. In order to help establish the precise role of 5-HT in physiology and behavior, in vivo microdialysis studies have sought to identify the conditions under which the release of 5-HT is altered. Extracellular 5-HT levels have been monitored in more than fifteen regions of the brain during a variety of spontaneous behaviors, and in response to several physiological, environmental, and behavioral manipulations. The vast majority of these studies found increases (30-100%) in 5-HT release in almost all brain regions studied. Since electrophysiological studies have shown that behavioral arousal is the primary determinant of brain serotonergic neuronal activity, we suggest that the increase in 5-HT release seen during a wide variety of experimental conditions is largely due to one factor, namely an increase in behavioral arousal/motor activity associated with the manipulation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / drug effects
  • Aggression / drug effects
  • Aggression / physiology
  • Animals
  • Anxiety / physiopathology
  • Arousal / physiology*
  • Avoidance Learning / drug effects
  • Avoidance Learning / physiology
  • Behavior / drug effects
  • Behavior / physiology*
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology
  • Brain Chemistry*
  • Cats
  • Circadian Rhythm / drug effects
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology
  • Extracellular Space / chemistry
  • Feeding Behavior / drug effects
  • Feeding Behavior / physiology
  • Humans
  • Microdialysis
  • Motor Activity / drug effects
  • Motor Activity / physiology
  • Pain / physiopathology
  • Raphe Nuclei / physiology
  • Rats
  • Serotonin / analysis
  • Serotonin / pharmacology
  • Serotonin / physiology*
  • Sheep
  • Stress, Physiological / physiopathology


  • Serotonin