The Role of Platelet/Lymphocyte Serotonin Transporter in Depression and Beyond

Author(s): Donatella Marazziti, Paola Landi, Stefano Baroni, Federica Vanelli, Natalia Bartolommei, Michela Picchetti, Liliana Dell’Osso

Journal Name: Current Drug Targets

Volume 14 , Issue 5 , 2013

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A large amount of the data gathered in the last 50 years support the hypothesis that alterations of the serotonin (5-HT) neurotransmission play a crucial role in the pathophysiology of not only major depression (MD), but also of different neuropsychiatric disorders. Research in this field has been substantially promoted by the evidence that the reuptake protein (SERT), present in presynaptic neurons, is a key element in terminating the activity of the neurotransmitter in the synaptic cleft. For this reason, it was specifically targeted for the development of second-generation antidepressants, in particular of selective 5-HT reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), with the aim of increasing the intrasynaptic 5-HT concentrations. Moreover, since a lot of studies showed that circulating platelets and, more recently, lymphocytes possess functional SERT proteins, they have been widely used as peripheral mirrors of the same structures located in the central nervous system. The presence of functional SERT in blood cells suggests strict relationships between the nervous and the immune system that need to be better clarified in MD, as well as the possibility of reciprocal modulation of the two systems by different drugs.

This paper aims to review briefly the literature on the 5-HT hypothesis of depression with a major focus on the possible role of SERT in this disorder, while highlighting how recent data are more oriented on dimensional rather than nosological involvement of this structure in different conditions spanning from normality to pathology.

Keywords: Serotonin, depression, serotonin transporter, antidepressants, platelets, lymphocytes, immune system, psychological dimensions.

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Article Details

Year: 2013
Page: [522 - 530]
Pages: 9
DOI: 10.2174/1389450111314050003
Price: $65

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