Prospects for serotonin 5-HT2R pharmacotherapy in psychostimulant abuse

Marcy J. Bubar, Kathryn A. Cunningham

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

118 Scopus citations


The serotonin (5-HT) neurotransmitter system provides fundamental modulatory regulation of the limbic-corticostriatal circuitry known to be vital in the development of addiction as well as the aspects of addiction that hinder recovery and contribute to relapse. Thus, components of the 5-HT system may provide novel targets for the development of pharmacological treatments for psychostimulant dependence, which is associated with significant aberrations in dopamine (DA) neurotransmission. Two key modulators of DA signalling within the limbic-corticostriatal circuit are the 5-HT2A receptor (5-HT2AR) and the 5-HT2CR. These receptors are known to control the neurochemical and behavioural effects of psychostimulants, and in particular the in vivo effects of cocaine. Pre-clinical studies indicate that 5-HT2AR antagonists and/or 5-HT2CR agonists may effectively reduce craving and/or relapse, and likewise, enhance abstinence, while 5-HT2CR agonists may also effectively reduce cocaine intake in active cocaine users. At present, the progression of studies to probe the effectiveness of 5-HT2AR and 5-HT2CR ligands in the clinical setting is hindered by a lack of available, selective 5-HT2AR antagonists or 5-HT2CR agonists for use in human cocaine abusers. However, a number of selective 5-HT2R ligands currently under development, or in early clinical trials for psychiatric and/or neurological disorders, may soon be available for translational studies to explore their effectiveness in modulating drug use and dependence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSerotonin-Dopamine Interaction
Subtitle of host publicationExperimental Evidence and Therapeutic Relevance
EditorsGiuseppe Di Giovann, Vincenzo Di Matteo, Ennio Esposito
Number of pages28
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameProgress in Brain Research
ISSN (Print)0079-6123


  • 5-HT receptor
  • 5-HT receptor
  • animal models
  • cocaine
  • pharmacotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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