«Serotonin (/ˌsɛrəˈtoʊnɪn, ˌsɪərə-/) or 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) is a monoamine neurotransmitter. It has a popular image as a contributor to feelings of well-being and happiness, though its actual biological function is complex and multifaceted, modulating cognition, reward, learning, memory, and numerous physiological processes.
Biochemically, the indoleamine molecule derives from the amino acid tryptophan, via the (rate-limiting) hydroxylation of the 5 position on the ring (forming the intermediate 5-hydroxytryptophan), and then decarboxylation to produce serotonin  Serotonin is primarily found in the enteric nervous system located in the gastrointestinal tract (GI tract). However, it is also produced in the central nervous system (CNS), specifically in the Raphe nuclei located in the brainstem. Additionally, serotonin is stored in blood platelets and is released during agitation and vasoconstriction, where it then acts as an agonist to other platelets.
Approximately 90% of the human body's total serotonin is located in the enterochromaffin cell in the GI tract, where it regulates intestinal movements. The serotonin is secreted luminally and basolaterally, which lead to increased serotonin uptake by circulating platelets and activation after stimulation, which gives increased stimulation of myenteric neurons and gastrointestinal motility. The remainder is synthesized in serotonergicneurons of the CNS, where it has various functions. These include the regulation of mood, appetite, and sleep. Serotonin also has some cognitive function, including memory and learning. Modulation of serotonin at synapses is thought[by whom?] to be a major action of several classes of pharmacological antidepressant.
Serotonin secreted from the enterochromaffin cell eventually finds its way out of tissues into the blood. There, it is actively taken up by blood platelets, which store it. When the platelets bind to a clot, they release serotonin, where it can serve as a vasoconstrictor or a vasodilator while regulating hemostasis and blood clotting. In high concentration, serotonin acts as a vasoconstrictor by contracting endothelial smooth muscle directly or by potentiating the effects of other vasoconstrictor (e.g. angiotensin II, norepinephrine). The vasoconstrictive property is mostly seen in pathologic states affecting the endothelium - such as atherosclerosis or chronic hypertension. In physiologic states, vasodilation occurs through the serotonin mediated release of nitric oxide from endothelial cell. Additionally, it inhibits the release of norepinephrine from adrenergic nerves. Serotonin is also a growth factor for some types of cell, which may give it a role in wound healing. There are various serotonin receptors.
Serotonin is metabolized mainly to 5-HIAA, chiefly by the liver. Metabolism involves first oxidation by monoamine oxidase to the corresponding aldehyde. There follows oxidation by aldehyde dehydrogenase to 5-HIAA, the indole acetic-acid derivative. The latter is then excreted by the kidney.
Aside from in mammals, serotonin is found in all bilateral animals including worms and insects, as well as in fungi and in plants. Serotonin's presence in insect venoms and plant spines serves to cause pain, which is a side-effect of serotonin injection. Serotonin is produced by pathogenic amoebae, and its effect in the human gut is diarrhea. Its widespread presence in many seeds and fruits may serve to stimulate the digestive tract into expelling the seeds.» (wikipedia)
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