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ACS Chem Neurosci. 2015 Jul 15;6(7):1017-25. doi: 10.1021/cn500350e. Epub 2015 Mar 31.

Serotonin Modulation of Prefronto-Hippocampal Rhythms in Health and Disease.

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†Neuroscience Programme, Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM), Barcelona Biomedical Research Park (PRBB), Barcelona, Spain.
‡Systems Biology Program, Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG), Barcelona Biomedical Research Park (PRBB), Barcelona, Spain.


There is mounting evidence that most cognitive functions depend upon the coordinated activity of neuronal networks often located far from each other in the brain. Ensembles of neurons synchronize their activity, generating oscillations at different frequencies that may encode behavior by allowing an efficient communication between brain areas. The serotonin system, by virtue of the widespread arborisation of serotonergic neurons, is in an excellent position to exert strong modulatory actions on brain rhythms. These include specific oscillatory activities in the prefrontal cortex and the hippocampus, two brain areas essential for many higher-order cognitive functions. Psychiatric patients show abnormal oscillatory activities in these areas, notably patients with schizophrenia who display psychotic symptoms as well as affective and cognitive impairments. Synchronization of neural activity between the prefrontal cortex and the hippocampus seems to be important for cognition and, in fact, reduced prefronto-hippocampal synchrony has been observed in a genetic mouse model of schizophrenia. Here, we review recent advances in the field of neuromodulation of brain rhythms by serotonin, focusing on the actions of serotonin in the prefrontal cortex and the hippocampus. Considering that the serotonergic system plays a crucial role in cognition and mood and is a target of many psychiatric treatments, it is surprising that this field of research is still in its infancy. In that regard, we point to future investigations that are much needed in this field.


Serotonin; hippocampus; major depression; neural network activity; oscillation; prefrontal cortex; psychiatric disorder; schizophrenia; synchrony

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