Serotonin: Origins, Roles, and Toxic Effects


serotonin syndrome


Through its imperative modulatory and regulatory role in supporting life, serotonin has heavily influenced a number of functions within the body since its evolutionary beginnings. The discovery of this indolamine in the brain has led to much research in exploring its role within the synapse and receptors. The receptors themselves are associated with an array of phenomena and behaviours, which are also influenced by the locations in which the serotonergic projections innervate. The 5-HT1A¸and 5-HT2A receptors have primarily been the target of research, as they have been implicated in affecting psychological states such as empathy, anxiety, and depression; imperative life functions such as sleep and hunger; and basic psychological functions such as inhibition and control. Despite all the beneficial functions serotonin can contribute to, overstimulation of serotonin can lead to life-threatening conditions such as serotonin syndrome. Dangerous but treatable if attended to in time, the syndrome provides a drastic example of how crucial serotonin’s role is within the body. Given its impact on maintaining life, more research must be conducted to fill in the gaps of the current literature and to produce viable treatments for serotonin syndrome.

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