Stress-related serotonergic systems: Implications for symptomatology of anxiety and affective disorders

Matthew W. Hale, Anantha Shekhar, Christopher A. Lowry

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

114 Scopus citations

Abstract

Previous studies have suggested that serotonergic neurons in the midbrain raphe complex have a functional topographic organization. Recent studies suggest that stimulation of a bed nucleus of the stria terminalisdorsal raphe nucleus pathway by stress- and anxiety-related stimuli modulates a subpopulation of serotonergic neurons in the dorsal part of the dorsal raphe nucleus (DRD) and caudal part of the dorsal raphe nucleus (DRC) that participates in facilitation of anxiety-like responses. In contrast, recent studies suggest that activation of a spinoparabrachial pathway by peripheral thermal or immune stimuli excites subpopulations of serotonergic neurons in the ventrolateral part of the dorsal raphe nucleus/ventrolateral periaqueducal gray (DRVL/VLPAG) region and interfascicular part of the dorsal raphe nucleus (DRI). Studies support a role for serotonergic neurons in the DRVL/VLPAG in inhibition of panic-like responses, and serotonergic neurons in the DRI in antidepressant-like effects. Thus, data suggest that while some subpopulations of serotonergic neurons in the dorsal raphe nucleus play a role in facilitation of anxiety-like responses, others play a role in inhibition of anxiety- or panic-like responses, while others play a role in antidepressant-like effects. Understanding the anatomical and functional properties of these distinct serotonergic systems may lead to novel therapeutic strategies for the prevention and/or treatment of affective and anxiety disorders. In this review, we describe the anatomical and functional properties of subpopulations of serotonergic neurons in the dorsal raphe nucleus, with a focus on those implicated in symptoms of anxiety and affective disorders, the DRD/DRC, DRVL/VLPAG, and DRI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)695-708
Number of pages14
JournalCellular and Molecular Neurobiology
Volume32
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2012

Keywords

  • 5-HT
  • 5-hydroxytryptamine
  • Anatomy
  • Dorsal raphe nucleus
  • Hodology
  • Serotonin
  • Topography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cell Biology

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