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Serotonin receptors

serotonin receptors

What are Serotonin receptors?

Serotonin receptors, also known as 5-HT receptors or 5-hydroxytryptamine receptors, are a class of ligand-gated ion channels and G protein-coupled receptors that are present in both the central and peripheral nervous systems. Both excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmission are mediated by them. The neurotransmitter serotonin functions as a natural ligand for the serotonin receptors, activating them.

several neurotransmitters, such as glutamate, GABA, dopamine, epinephrine/norepinephrine, and acetylcholine, as well as several hormones, such as oxytocin, prolactin, vasopressin, cortisol, corticotropin, and substance P, are all modulated by serotonin receptors. Many biological and neurological functions, including anger, hunger, mood, learning, memory, nausea, sleep, and thermoregulation, are influenced by serotonin receptors. Many antidepressants, antipsychotics, anorexics, antiemetics, gastroprokinetic medicines, antimigraine agents, hallucinogens, and entactogens are among the pharmaceutical and recreational substances like kratom.

Serotonin receptors are present in nearly every animal, including Caenorhabditis elegans, the basic nematode, whose lifespan and behavioral aging are known to be regulated by these receptors.

Classification of Serotonin receptors

The central and peripheral neurological systems contain 5-hydroxytryptamine receptors, also known as 5-HT receptors or serotonin receptors. They belong to seven families of G protein-coupled receptors that can either produce an inhibitory or excitatory response by activating an intracellular second messenger cascade. The ligand-gated ion channel known as the 5-HT3 receptor is the exception to this rule. 2014 saw the isolation of a novel 5-HT receptor known as pr5-HT8 from the little white butterfly, Pieris rapae. It is not seen in mammals and is not very similar to the other recognized 5-HT receptor types.

Serotonin receptors expression patterns

Serotonin receptor-coding genes are expressed throughout the mammalian brain. Different receptor types have distinct developmental curves corresponding to their genes. In particular, there is a drop in HTR1A expression from the embryonic to the post-natal stages, which is accompanied by an increase in HTR5A expression in a number of human brain subregions.

What are the functions of Serotonin receptors?

Serotonin receptors mediate the effects of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is involved in various functions. Each type of serotonin receptor has different roles, but here are some general functions they are involved in:

  • Mood Regulation: Serotonin receptors play a crucial role in mood regulation. Dysregulation of these receptors is often associated with mood disorders.
  • Cognition and Learning: These receptors are involved in cognitive functions including memory, learning, and decision-making.
  • Sleep Regulation: Certain serotonin receptors help regulate sleep-wake cycles and influence the quality of sleep.
  • Pain Perception: Serotonin receptors are involved in the modulation of pain signals in the brain, affecting how pain is perceived.
  • Appetite and Digestion: Some serotonin receptors in the gastrointestinal tract help regulate appetite, digestion, and gut motility.
  • Thermoregulation: They play a role in regulating body temperature.
  • Motor Functions: Serotonin receptors influence motor control and can affect movement.
  • Cardiovascular System: These receptors help regulate blood pressure and heart rate.
  • Sexual Behavior: Serotonin has been found to influence sexual behavior and functions.
  • Hormonal Regulation: They can influence the release of various hormones within the body.
  • Vascular Functions: Serotonin receptors regulate vasoconstriction and vasodilation, affecting blood flow.
  • Respiratory Function: They play a role in the regulation of respiration.

Where are the serotonin receptors in the brain?


Serotonin receptors are found throughout the brain and also in various other tissues and organs in the body. The brain contains several different types of serotonin receptors, which are classified into seven major families known as 5-HT1 to 5-HT7 receptors. These receptors are distributed in different regions of the brain and play various roles in regulating mood, behavior, and physiological processes.

Here is a general overview of some of the major serotonin receptor subtypes and their locations in the brain:

  • 5-HT1 receptors: These receptors are found in various brain regions, including the cortex, hippocampus, and hypothalamus. They are involved in regulating mood and sleep.

  • 5-HT2 receptors: These receptors are also distributed widely throughout the brain, including the cortex, limbic system, and basal ganglia. They are implicated in processes such as mood regulation, perception, and hallucinations.

  • 5-HT3 receptors: These receptors are primarily located in areas associated with nausea and vomiting, such as the area postrema in the brainstem. They are involved in regulating nausea and are a target for antiemetic drugs.

  • 5-HT4 receptors: These receptors are found in the cortex, hippocampus, and striatum, among other regions. They play a role in learning and memory processes.

  • 5-HT6 receptors: These receptors are mainly present in the cortex and striatum and are associated with cognitive functions and memory.

  • 5-HT7 receptors: These receptors are widely distributed in the brain, including the hippocampus and hypothalamus. They are involved in mood regulation, circadian rhythms, and other processes.

Todd A. Underwood


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