Social cognitive and affective neuroscience

Reduced 5-HT(2A) receptor signaling following selective bilateral amygdala damage.

PMID 19015089


Neurobiological evidence implicates the amygdala as well as serotonergic (serotonin, 5-HT) signaling via postsynaptic 5-HT(2A) receptors as essential substrates of anxiety behaviors. Assuming a functional interdependence of these substrates, we hypothesized that a low-fear behavioral phenotype due to bilateral lesion of the amygdala would be associated with significant 5-HT(2A) receptor changes. Thus, we used [(18)F]altanserin positron emission tomography (PET) referenced to radioligand plasma levels and corrected for partial volume effects to quantify the spatial distribution of 5-HT(2A) receptor binding potential (BP(P)) in a rare patient with Urbach-Wiethe disease and selective bilateral amygdala calcification damage relative to 10 healthy control subjects. Consistent with our a priori hypothesis, we observed a 70% global decrease in 5-HT(2A) receptor BP(P) in the Urbach-Wiethe patient relative to controls. Thus, brain abnormalities in this patient are not restricted to the amygdala, but extend to overall 5-HT neurotransmission via 5-HT(2A) receptors. Our findings provide important insights into the molecular architecture of human anxiety behaviors and suggest the 5-HT(2A) receptor as a promising pharmacological target to control pathological anxiety.

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Altanserin hydrochloride hydrate, ≥98% (HPLC), solid
C22H22FN3O2S · HCl · xH2O