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Papers of the Week

Papers: 14 Oct 2023 - 20 Oct 2023

2023 Oct 16

J Pain


Serotonin transporter (5-HTT, SERT, SLC6A4) and sodium-dependent reuptake inhibitors (SRIs) as modulators of pain behaviors and analgesic responses.


Huang C, van Wijnen AJ, Sampen HI


The serotonin transporter (5-HTT, SERT, SLC6A4) modulates the activity of serotonin via sodium-dependent reuptake. Given the established importance of serotonin in the control of pain, 5-HTT has received much interest in studies of pain states and as a pharmacological target for serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SRIs). Animal models expressing varying levels of 5-HTT activity show marked differences in pain behaviors and analgesic responses, as well as many serotonin-related physiological effects. In humans, functional nucleotide variations in the SLC6A4 gene, which encodes the serotonin transporter 5-HTT, are associated with certain pathologic pain conditions and differences in responses to pharmacological therapy. These findings collectively reflect the importance of 5-HTT in the intricate physiology and management of pain, as well as the scientific and clinical challenges that need to be considered for optimization of 5-HTT related analgesic therapies. PERSPECTIVES: The serotonin transporter 5-HTT/SCL6A4 is sensitive to pharmacological serotonin re-uptake inhibitors. Experimental studies on the physiological functions of serotonin, as well as genetic mouse models and clinical phenotype/genotype correlations of nucleotide variation in the human 5-HTT/SCL6A4 gene provide new insights for the use of SRIs in chronic pain management.