Serotonin is a monoamine neurotransmitter, which is phylogenetically conserved in a wide range of species from nematodes to humans. In mammals, age-related changes in serotonin systems are known risk factors of age-related diseases, such as diabetes, faecal incontinence and cardiovascular diseases. A decline in serotonin function with aging would be consistent with observations of age-related changes in behaviours, such as sleep, sexual behaviour and mood all of which are linked to serotonergic function. Despite this little is known about serotonin in relation to aging.
Neuropsychopharmacology: Official Publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology
A number of recent clinical and molecular observations in major psychosis indicate that epigenetic factors may be operational in the origin of major mental illness. This article further develops the idea that epigenetic factors may play an etiopathogenic role in schizophrenia and bipolar affective disorder. The putative role of epigenetic factors is shown by the epigenetic interpretation of genetic association studies of the genes for serotonin 2A (HTR2A) and the dopamine D3 (DRD3) receptors in schizophrenia.
Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology & Biological Psychiatry
Suicide behavior (SB) spans a spectrum ranging from suicidal ideation to suicide attempts and completed suicide. Strong evidence suggests a genetic susceptibility to SB, including familial heritability and common occurrence in twins. This review addresses recent molecular genetic studies in SB that include case-control association, genome gene-expression microarray, and genome-wide association (GWA). This work also reviews epigenetics in SB and pharmacogenetic studies of antidepressant-induced suicide.
Central nervous system disorders are the third greatest health problem in developed countries, and schizophrenia represents some of the most disabling ailments in young individuals. There is an abuse and/or misuse of antipsychotics, and recent advances in pharmacogenomics pose new challenges for the clinical management of this complex disorder. Schizophrenia is a multi-factorial/polygenic complex disorder in which hundreds of different genes are potentially involved, leading to the phenotypic expression of the disease in conjunction with epigenetic and environmental phenomena.
It has been suggested that serotonergic hypofunction and serotonergic pathway genes underlie the somatic symptoms of somatoform disorders. We examined a variety of serotonin-related gene polymorphisms to determine whether undifferentiated somatoform disorder is associated with specific serotonin-related gene pathways. Serotonin-related polymorphic markers were assessed using single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genotyping. One hundred and two patients with undifferentiated somatoform disorder and 133 healthy subjects were enrolled.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are among the most widely prescribed drugs in psychiatry. Based on the fact that SSRIs increase extracellular monoamine levels in the brain, the monoamine hypothesis of depression was introduced, postulating that depression is associated with too low serotonin, dopamine and noradrenaline levels. However, several lines of evidence indicate that this hypothesis is too simplistic and that depression and the efficacy of SSRIs are dependent on neuroplastic changes mediated by changes in gene expression.
Histone modifications and DNA methylation represent central dynamic and reversible processes that regulate gene expression and contribute to cellular phenotypes. These epigenetic marks have been shown to play fundamental roles in a diverse set of signaling and behavioral outcomes. Serotonin is a monoamine that regulates numerous physiological responses including those in the central nervous system.
Mammals and birds have evolved three primary, discrete, interrelated emotion-motivation systems in the brain for mating, reproduction, and parenting: lust, attraction, and male-female attachment. Each emotion-motivation system is associated with a specific constellation of neural correlates and a distinct behavioral repertoire.
Tonic immobility (TI), also known as death feigning or animal hypnosis, is a reversible state of motor inhibition that is not only triggered by postural inversion and/or movement restraining maneuvers but also by repetitive stimulation and pressure on body parts. Evidence has demonstrated that the basolateral nucleus of the amygdala (BLA) is particularly associated with defensive behavior that involves the emotional states of fear and anxiety.
Molecular medical research on aromatherapy has been steadily increasing for use as an adjuvant therapy in managing psychiatric disorders and to examine its therapeutic mechanisms. Most studies, as well as clinically applied experience, have indicated that various essential oils, such as lavender, lemon and bergamot can help to relieve stress, anxiety, depression and other mood disorders. Most notably, inhalation of essential oils can communicate signals to the olfactory system and stimulate the brain to exert neurotransmitters (e.g. serotonin and dopamine) thereby further regulating mood.