Comparing the serotonergic system in vertebrates and invertebrates

by Elin Hessling

Institution: Linkping University
Year: 2017
Keywords: Serotonergic system; serotonin receptors; SSRIs; serotonin transporter protein; Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; Biokemi och molekylrbiologi
Posted: 02/01/2018
Record ID: 2170660
Full text PDF: http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-141218


The serotonergic system is involved in a broad range of functions in both vertebrates and invertebrates and is highly conserved across taxa. Serotonin is an important monoamine acting in the brains of humans and animals, and has large and varying influences on many aspects of an individuals life. For example, in humans, serotonin modulates feelings of happiness and in fruit flies, higher levels of serotonin increase aggression. In humans, an abnormal serotonergic system can result in health issues, such as depression and obsessive compulsive disorders, for which medications have been developed, including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI). Because the serotonin system has a large influence on human health, understanding how it functions is of great interest to researchers. Using comparative studies to explore differences in the serotonin system across taxa can provide insight into the mechanistic details of the system. To investigate if the serotonin system is comparable between vertebrates and invertebrates, a literature study with particular focus on receptors and proteins involved was performed. In addition, this report takes part in an experimental study investigating the effect of the SSRI fluoxetine in Mediterranean field crickets. Fluoxetine reduced exploration propensity of crickets, which was reversed, compared to what was anticipated and compared to effects seen in vertebrates. The literature review suggests that serotonin receptors are quite similar, but that proteins differ more when comparing vertebrates and invertebrates. This offers a likely explanation as to why results of studies on these different groups of animals may differ.