Serotonin1A receptors in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia:
development of novel cognition-enhancing therapeutics

Sumiyoshi T, Bubenikova-Valesova V, Horacek J, Bert B.
Department of Neuropsychiatry,
University of Toyama Graduate School of Medicine and Pharmaceutical Sciences,
Toyama, Japan.
Adv Ther. 2008 Oct;25(10):1037-56.


Serotonin (5-HT) receptors have been suggested to play key roles in psychosis, cognition, and mood via influence on neurotransmitters, synaptic integrity, and neural plasticity. Specifically, genetic evidence indicates that 5-HT(1A), 5-HT(2A), and 5-HT(2C) receptor single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) are related to psychotic symptoms, cognitive disturbances, and treatment response in schizophrenia. Data from animal research suggest the role of 5-HT in cognition via its influence on dopaminergic, cholinergic, glutamatergic, and GABAergic function. This article provides up-to-date findings on the role of 5-HT receptors in endophenotypic variations in schizophrenia and the development of newer cognition-enhancing medications, based on basic science and clinical evidence. Imaging genetics studies on associations of polymorphisms of several 5-HT receptor subtypes with brain structure, function, and metabolism suggest a role for the prefrontal cortex and the parahippocampal gyrus in cognitive impairments of schizophrenia. Data from animal experiments to determine the effect of agonists/antagonists at 5-HT(1A), 5-HT(2A), and 5-HT(2C) receptors on behavioral performance in animal models of schizophrenia based on the glutamatergic hypothesis provide useful information. For this purpose, standard as well as novel cognitive tasks provide a measure of memory/information processing and social interaction. In order to scrutinize mixed evidence for the ability of 5-HT(1A) agonists/antagonists to improve cognition, behavioral data in various paradigms from transgenic mice overexpressing 5-HT(1A) receptors provide valuable insights. Clinical trials reporting the advantage of 5-HT(1A) partial agonists add to efforts to shape pharmacologic perspectives concerning cognitive enhancement in schizophrenia by developing novel compounds acting on 5-HT receptors. Overall, these lines of evidence from translational research will facilitate the development of newer pharmacologic strategies for the treatment of cognitive disturbances of schizophrenia.
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