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Synonyms: 5-hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT, enteramine
Serotonin is a biogenic amine that occurs as a neurotransmitter in the peripheral and central nervous system. Outside of the nervous system, serotonin is found, among other things, in the enterochromaffin cells of the intestinal mucosa, in basophilic granulocytes and in platelets.
Serotonin has the molecular formula C.10H12N2O and a molar mass of 176.22 g / mol.
Serotonin is produced in a 2-step reaction through hydroxylation and subsequent decarboxylation from the amino acid tryptophan. The enzymes involved are tryptophan hydroxylase and aromatic L-amino acid decarboxylase. The non-proteinogenic amino acid 5-hydroxytryptophan is formed as an intermediate product.
Serotonin is mainly produced in the enterochromaffin cells of the intestinal mucosa. However, since it cannot cross the blood-brain barrier, it is also synthesized in the brain. It is transported by the platelets in the blood and stored in the synaptic endbones of the neurons in vesicles.
Serotonin can react to form melatonin via acetylation and subsequent methylation.
Memory aid: Tryptophan becomes Serotonin becomes Melatonin.
95% of the serotonin is in the gastrointestinal tract, 90% of it in the enterochromaffin cells of the intestinal mucosa and the remaining 10% in the enteral nervous system. In the CNS, most of the serotonin is in the raphe nuclei of the brain stem. The total amount of serotonin in the body is estimated to be around 10 mg.
The effects of serotonin are mediated via so-called 5-HT receptors. Wherever there are 5-HT receptors, serotonin influences physiological processes. Serotonin has a wide range of effects in the CNS. Among other things, it is involved in the following processes:
In addition, serotonin influences a variety of emotional processes, such as aggression and fear. A disturbed serotonin balance can be found in diseases such as depression, obsessive-compulsive disorders and anxiety disorders.
Outside the CNS, serotonin has, among other things,
In addition, serotonin plays an important role in the vascular component of hemostasis, as it is released from the granules of the activated platelets when they adhere and contributes to local vasoconstriction.
The elimination of 5-HT from the synaptic cleft takes place mainly through reuptake in the presynapse. Various psychotropic drugs can inhibit this reuptake (e.g. MDMA (ecstasy), cocaine, amphetamine, tricyclic antidepressants, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, SSRIs for short).
Serotonin is metabolized to 5-hydroxy-indolyl-acetic acid (also called 5-HIAA) in the liver. 5-HIAA is then excreted by the kidney.
Serotonin is found in large quantities in foods such as chocolate, walnuts, and avocados.
In the case of neuroendocrine tumors (NET, carcinoid) of the gastrointestinal tract, there may be an overproduction of serotonin, which can lead to typical and diagnostically pioneering symptoms such as hyperhidrosis, hypertension, tachycardia, insomnia, hot flashes.
Serotonin also plays an important role in the pathophysiology of migraines.
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