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Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2013 Feb 25;368(1615):20120192. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2012.0192. Print 2013.

Identifying serotonergic mechanisms underlying the corticolimbic response to threat in humans.

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Center for Integrated Molecular Brain Imaging, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen 2100, Denmark.


A corticolimbic circuit including the amygdala and medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) plays an important role in regulating sensitivity to threat, which is heightened in mood and anxiety disorders. Serotonin is a potent neuromodulator of this circuit; however, specific serotonergic mechanisms mediating these effects are not fully understood. Recent studies have evaluated molecular mechanisms mediating the effects of serotonin signalling on corticolimbic circuit function using a multi-modal neuroimaging strategy incorporating positron emission tomography and blood oxygen level-dependent functional magnetic resonance imaging. This multi-modal neuroimaging strategy can be integrated with additional techniques including imaging genetics and pharmacological challenge paradigms to more clearly understand how serotonin signalling modulates neural pathways underlying sensitivity to threat. Integrating these methodological approaches offers novel opportunities to identify mechanisms through which serotonin signalling contributes to differences in brain function and behaviour, which in turn can illuminate factors that confer risk for illness and inform the development of more effective treatment strategies.

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