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Psychiatry Res. 2011 Jan 30;185(1-2):238-42. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2010.05.003. Epub 2010 Jun 9.

Profiles of serotonin receptors in the developing human thalamus.

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School of Biomedical Sciences, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, N.T., Hong Kong, China.


The critical importance of the thalamus and its serotonergic innervation with respect to neuropsychiatric syndromes is increasingly recognized. This study investigates the localization of serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine; 5-HT) receptors by immunohistochemistry in the thalamic nuclei of human fetuses aged 21 to 32 weeks of gestation. Results indicate that, already at 21 weeks of gestation, two 5-HT receptors are present in the dorsomedial nucleus of the developing thalamus: 5-HT2A receptors are localized in neurons and 5-HT2C receptors in fibers. By 31 and 32 weeks of gestation, 5-HT1A and 5-HT4 receptors are also detected in neuronal fibers of the same nucleus. At this later developmental stage, the percentage of 5-HT2A labeled neurons has significantly increased in the dorsomedial nucleus, and 5-HT2C positive neurons are observed in the centromedian and lateroventral thalamic nuclei as well. In contrast, neither neuronal cells nor fibers display any immunoreactivity for 5-HT3 or 5-HT6 receptors at any of the ages examined. Our observation that 5-HT1A, 5-HT2A, 5-HT2C and 5-HT4 receptors are present in the human thalamus prenatally indicates that 5-HT may play a role during fetal development. Disrupted development of the thalamic serotonergic system during this gestational period may contribute to the pathophysiology of neuropsychiatric disorders.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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