The serotonin system and depression

Professor Wayne Drevets discusses the serotonin system in relation to depression. Drugs that block serotonin reuptake in the brain (SSRIs) are commonly used to treat depression.

One of the systems in the brain that has been studied most in depression has been the serotonin system. A reason for that has been that drugs that would act relatively specifically on the serotonin system as their primary mechanism of action had antidepressant effects in humans who suffered from depression. So for example, most antidepressant drugs that are prescribed now are serotonin re-uptake inhibitors. They block the re-uptake of serotonin into cells that release serotonin, and ultimately increase the transmission of serotonin to some of the serotonin receptors. It’s thought that that’s probably is leading to some cascade of other events that may become particularly relevant in depression, but nevertheless the serotonin system in general has been shown to play important roles in modulating stress and coping with stress, and modulating emotional behavior in general. It’s thought that this system, if you have abnormalities of function within this system that may arise for example due to genetic mutations or to other kinds of impairments, if you have an impairment of the system, it may interfere with your ability to deal with stressful situations or it may interfere also with your ability to respond to antidepressant treatments.

serotonin, system, receptors, antidepressant drugs, medication, ssri, selective, ssris, reuptake, inhibitors, antidepressive, wayne, drevets

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