Chapter

Neuroendocrine serotonergic challenges in clinical research

Juan J. López-Ibor, Jerόnimo Sáiz-Ruiz, Leticia Moral, Isabel Moreno and Rosa Viñas

in 5-Hydroxytryptamine in Psychiatry

Published in print February 1991 | ISBN: 9780192620118
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191724725 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780192620118.003.0014
Neuroendocrine serotonergic challenges in clinical research

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Biological research in psychiatry tries to correlate psychopathological and biological data in order to find mutual interactions. The methodological problems of this approach are immense because one has to look simultaneously at least two very complex, interacting systems. The investigation of the metabolism of serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT) in psychiatry is based on several methodological approaches which study the concentrations of the neurotransmitter itself or its metabolites in post-mortem brain tissue, platelets, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), or other body fluids. Clinical trials designed to test the involvement of serotonin in a specific disorder have also been used in this endeavour. CSF studies have been focusing on the measurement of the concentrations of 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA), the 5-HT metabolite, in both baseline conditions and after probenecid. Metabolite concentration ratios in CSF obtained from the lumbar space may not be representative of events taking place in higher parts of the nervous system. Further difficulties include the cross-sectional nature of most CSF evaluations and the limited availability of controls. Despite all the difficulties interesting results have been obtained with two 5-HT probes, fenfluramine and clomipramine, using methodologies which are simple enough for use in normal clinical conditions.

Keywords: psychopathology; metabolism; metabolites; cerebrospinal fluids; 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid; clinical conditions

Chapter.  3660 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neuroscience

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