Alterations of expression of the serotonin 5-HT4 receptor in brain disorders

Heike Rebholz, Eitan Friedman, Julia Castello

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The serotonin 4 receptor, 5-HT4 R, represents one of seven different serotonin receptor families and is implicated in a variety of physiological functions and their pathophysiological variants, such as mood and depression or anxiety, food intake and obesity or anorexia, or memory and memory loss in Alzheimer’s disease. Its central nervous system expression pattern in the forebrain, in particular in caudate putamen, the hippocampus and to lesser extent in the cortex, predispose it for a role in executive function and reward-related actions. In rodents, regional overexpression or knockdown in the prefrontal cortex or the nucleus accumbens of 5-HT4 R was shown to impact mood and depression-like phenotypes, food intake and hypophagia; however, whether expression changes are causally involved in the etiology of such disorders is not clear. In this context, more data are emerging, especially based on PET technology and the use of ligand tracers that demonstrate altered 5-HT4 R expression in brain disorders in humans, confirming data stemming from post-mortem tissue and preclinical animal models. In this review, we would like to present the current knowledge of 5-HT4 R expression in brain regions relevant to mood/depression, reward and executive function with a focus on 5-HT4 R expression changes in brain disorders or caused by drug treatment, at both the transcript and protein levels.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3581
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number11
StatePublished - 13 Nov 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • 5-HT 4 receptor
  • 5-HT4R
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Cognition
  • Depression
  • Expression
  • Mood disorder
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Serotonin


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