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  1. Steven J. Garlow

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0848

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Garlow, S. J. 2010. Serotonin. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–3.

Author Information

  1. Emory University School of Medicine

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


Serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT) is an indoleamine neurotransmitter and hormone that has many actions in the central nervous system and in the periphery. Serotonin was initially described as a hormonal activity in the serum from clotted blood that caused vasoconstriction, hence serum tonic factor or serotonin. Serotonin was purified from blood and identified as 5-hydroxytryptamine in 1949. In 1953, serotonin was first detected in the central nervous system (CNS). The first serotonin receptors, termed D and M types, were characterized in guinea pig intestinal smooth muscle in 1957, but this classification schema is no longer in use (Gaddum & Picarelli, 1957). Serotonin achieved the status of neurotransmitter in 1963, when it was specifically identified in neurons of the raphe nuclei.


  • neuroscience;
  • neuronal activity;
  • neurotransmitters;
  • serotonin