Picture of Serotonin

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Serotonin structure
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Picture of Serotonin

C10 H12 N2 O

Serotonin is a monoamine neurotransmitter synthesized in serotonergic neurons in the central nervous system (CNS) and enterochromaffin cells in the gastrointestinal tract. Serotonin is synthesized extensively in the human gastrointestinal tract (about 90%), and the major storage place is platelets in the blood stream.

In the central nervous system, serotonin is believed to play an important role in the regulation of body temperature, mood, sleep, vomiting, sexuality, and appetite. Low levels of serotonin have been associated with several disorders, notably clinical depression, migraine, irritable bowel syndrome, tinnitus, fibromyalgia, bipolar disorder, and anxiety disorders.

The pharmacology of 5-HT is extremely complex, with its actions being mediated by a large and diverse range of 5-HT receptors. At least seven different receptor "families" are known to exist, each located in different parts of the body and triggering different responses. As with all neurotransmitters, the effects of 5-HT on the human mood and state of mind, and its role in consciousness, are very difficult to ascertain. Serotonin (5-HT) receptors are also used by other psychoactive drugs, including LSD, DMT, and psilocybin, the active ingredient in psychedelic mushrooms.

Formal Chemical Name (IUPAC)



Update by Karl Harrison
(Molecule of the Month for January 2007 )