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Re: 5-HT2 What is it?

Posted by JD on June 17, 1999, at 16:08:33

In reply to Re: 5-HT2 What is it?, posted by J.T. on June 16, 1999, at 11:08:20

5-HT2 refers to a specific "type" of serotonin receptor, that is, a place in the brain where serotonin (often called 5-HT) can bind to cause a certain neurochemical effect. The family of serotonin receptors keeps getting larger as scientists discover new varieties, but the most important ones for depression seem to be 5HT1 (which has a number of subtypes ranging from 5HT1A to 5HT1D) and 5HT2, usually divided into 2a and 2c varieties.

I'm not sure I fully agree with the previous posting. While they are undisputably relatively "clean" drugs, SSRIs such as Celexa don't seem to have their major effect at specific receptor subtypes such as 5HT2--instead, they prevent the re-uptake of serotonin in general and leave more of it available to effect the whole family of receptors. Antidepressants like Remeron and Serzone, on the other hand, are believed to have a specific antagonist effect at 5HT2 receptors: they block the effects of serotonin at them, which likely contributes to why they can be more effective than SSRIs at quickly relieving anxiety and insomnia. At the same time, these drugs may also increase the action of serotonin at other receptor types (especially 5HT1), which probably plays a role in their more general antidepressant action too.

On the whole, 5HT2 receptors seem to play an important role in regulating sleep and anxiety. In addition, they probably play some kind of complicated role in other depressive symptoms and even in psychotic illnesses--for example, a lot of the newer antipsychotic meds such as Zyprexa are 5HT2 antagonists, but these meds also have a lot of complicated effects at other receptors as well!

Hope this helps. As researchers get better at 'mapping out' the different receptors and their subtypes, the hope is that medications can be designed to have more and more targeted effects.




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