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Nat Neurosci. 2007 Sep;10(9):1103-9.

Long story short: the serotonin transporter in emotion regulation and social cognition.

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Graduate Program in Genetics, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York 11794-2500, USA.


The gene encoding the serotonin transporter (5-HTT) contains a regulatory variation that has been associated with anxiety-related traits and susceptibility for depression. Here we highlight recent discoveries related to allelic variation of 5-HTT function with respect to emotion regulation and social behavior, drawing from an interdisciplinary perspective of behavioral genetics and cognitive neuroscience. Following a reductionistic path that leads from gene-behavior association studies to neuroimaging and epigenetic studies, we compare two models of 5-HTT-dependent modulation of brain activity and discuss the role of life stress experience in modifying 5-HTT function in the brain. Integration of these findings suggests that the impact of the 5-HTT gene on behavior is much broader than is commonly appreciated and may have a role in social cognition.

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