Serotonin4 (5-HT4) receptors have been shown to be involved in several peripheral and central functions, including control of the gastro-intestinal tract, modulation of memory and food intake, as well as positive regulation of the release of various neurotransmitters. Recently, we have proposed that the study of these receptors may also bring a new hope for treating depression, their agonists possibly acting as fast-acting antidepressants. This hypothesis was based on several studies showing that 5-HT4 receptors play an important role in the modulation of central 5-HT neurotransmission, both at pre- and postsynaptic levels. The possible physiological meaning of this control is discussed, together with the different research perspectives opened by its discovery.
Keywords: Depression, 5-HT neurons, 5-HT4 receptors, fast-acting antidepressants, dorsal raphe nucleus, modulation of mood
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