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Life Sci. 1996;58(20):1683-94.

Serotonin and the regulation of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis function.

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Dept. of Psychological Medicine, St. Bartholomew's Hospital, London, United Kingdom.


That serotonin (5HT) is involved in regulating hypothalamic-pituitary- adrenal axis (HPA) function has long been recognized. A variety of drugs including precursors of 5HT such as 5HTP, drugs which release 5HT such as fenfluramine and drugs which act directly on 5HT receptors such as ipsapirone increase cortisol and ACTH concentrations. There is a general assumption that such stimulation occurs at a hypothalamic level. However, our increasing understanding of the complex interplay between 5HT and the HPA raises questions as to the validity of this simple model. An increasing volume of experimental research indicates that 5HT can act directly on the adrenal gland and possibly on the anterior pituitary as well. These findings have major implications for the interpretation of neuroendocrine studies of 5HT conducted in psychiatric conditions, such as depression.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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