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Role of 5-Hydroxytryptamine in Mental Diseases and its Antagonism to Lysergic Acid Derivatives


THE possibility that 5-hydroxytryptamine plays a part in abnormal mental processes has been discussed by Gaddum1 and by Woolley and Shaw2. The hypothesis is based on the findings that this substance is a natural constituent of nervous tissue, particularly of the brain3, and that certain of its actions are antagonized by lysergic acid diethylamide4, a drug which on oral application and in doses of only 0.5–1.0 µgm./kgm. produces pronounced psychic disturbances in normal human beings5. According to this hypothesis, the effects of lysergic acid diethylamide result from its antagonistic effect on the 5-hydroxytryptamine in the brain.

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  1. Gaddum, J. H., Ciba Foundation Symposium on Hypertension, London (J. and A. Churchill, Ltd., 1953).

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  2. Woolley, D. W., and Shaw, E., Science, 119, 587 (1954); Brit. Med. J., ii, 122 (1954).

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  3. Amin, A. H. T., Crawford, B. B., and Gaddum, J. H., International Physiological Congress, Montreal, 1953, p. 165. Twarog, B. M., and Page, J. H., Amer. J. Physiol., 175, 157 (1953).

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  4. Gaddum, J. H., J. Physiol., 121, 15P (1953).

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  5. See Sloane, B., and Lovett Doust, J. W., J. Ment. Sci., 100, 129 (1954), for a recent summary of work in this field.

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  6. Rothlin, E., and Cerletti, A., Helv. Physiol. Acta, 10, 319 (1952).

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  8. Lanz, U., Cerletti, A., and Rothlin, E., Helv. Physiol. Pharmacol. Acta (in the press).

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CERLETTI, A., ROTHLIN, E. Role of 5-Hydroxytryptamine in Mental Diseases and its Antagonism to Lysergic Acid Derivatives. Nature 176, 785–786 (1955).

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