5-HT2A: Its role in frontally mediated executive function and related psychopathology
Serotonin (5-HT)2A receptors are widely distributed, with high levels in the frontal cortex, where postsynaptic activation may increase activity in pyramidal glutamatergic neurons and mediate various executive functions. More specifically, reciprocal cortical-raphe pathways may allow the ventral prefrontal cortex to inhibit stress-induced neural activity in the brainstem when stressors are perceived as controllable. However, early adversity and negative attitudes may be associated with higher frontal 5-HT2A receptor levels and greater risk for stress-induced psychopathology, and certain 5-HT2A gene variants have been associated with increased risk for impulsive behavior. Conversely, many antidepressants result in decreased levels of 5-HT2A receptor levels, and blockade of 5-HT2A receptors has proven useful in the treatment of a number of psychiatric disorders.