Wurtman, Richard J. Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Last reviewed:November 2017
Show previous versions
- Synthesis and transport across the blood–brain barrier
- Role in the central nervous system
- Blood serotonin
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
A monoamine compound derived from tryptophan that plays a role in neurotransmission, functions as a local vasoconstrictor, and has pharmacologic properties. Serotonin is a biological compound derived from tryptophan (an essential amino acid) [see illustration]. It has the chemical formula C10H12N2O and also is known as 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT). In mammals, including humans, serotonin is found in brain and nerve tissue, blood platelets, and the gastrointestinal tract. As such, serotonin plays a dynamic role in neurotransmission, affecting many physiological and behavioral functions. It also acts as a local vasoconstrictor and has been used pharmaceutically to restrict blood flow. Moreover, in the pineal gland of the brain, serotonin is an intermediate in the synthesis of the hormone melatonin, which helps to maintain daily (circadian or biological clock) rhythms and is an important factor in initiating and sustaining sleep. See also: Biological clocks; Brain; Melatonin; Nervous system (vertebrate); Neurobiology; Pineal gland; Sleep and dreaming; Sleep disorders
The content above is only an excerpt.
for your institution. Subscribe
To learn more about subscribing to AccessScience, or to request a no-risk trial of this award-winning scientific reference for your institution, fill in your information and a member of our Sales Team will contact you as soon as possible.
to your librarian. Recommend
Let your librarian know about the award-winning gateway to the most trustworthy and accurate scientific information.
AccessScience provides the most accurate and trustworthy scientific information available.
Recognized as an award-winning gateway to scientific knowledge, AccessScience is an amazing online resource that contains high-quality reference material written specifically for students. Contributors include more than 9000 highly qualified scientists and 43 Nobel Prize winners.
MORE THAN 8500 articles and Research Reviews covering all major scientific disciplines and encompassing the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology and McGraw-Hill Yearbook of Science & Technology
115,000-PLUS definitions from the McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms
3000 biographies of notable scientific figures
MORE THAN 19,000 downloadable images and animations illustrating key topics
ENGAGING VIDEOS highlighting the life and work of award-winning scientists
SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY and additional readings to guide students to deeper understanding and research
LINKS TO CITABLE LITERATURE help students expand their knowledge using primary sources of information