HTR1B as a risk profile maker in psychiatric disorders: A review through motivation and memory

Antonio Drago, Silvia Alboni, Brunello Nicoletta, Diana De Ronchi, Alessandro Serretti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Serotonin receptor 1B (HTR1B) is involved in the regulation of the serotonin system, playing different roles in specific areas of the brain. We review the characteristics of the gene coding for HTR1B, its product and the functional role of HTR1B in the neural networks involved in motivation and memory; the central role played by HTR1B in these functions is thoroughly depicted and show HTR1B to be a candidate modulator of the mnemonic and motivationally related symptoms in psychiatric illnesses. Methods: In order to challenge this assessment, we analyze how and how much the genetic variations located in the gene that codes for HTR1B impacts on the psychiatric phenotypes by reviewing the literature on this topic. Results: We gathered partial evidence arising from genetic association studies, which suggests that HTR1B plays a relevant role in substance-related and obsessive compulsive disorders. On the other hand, no solid evidence for other psychiatric disorders was found. This finding is quite striking because of the heavy impairment of motivation and of mnemonic-related functions (for example, recall bias) that characterize major psychiatric disorders. Conclusions: The possible reasons for the contrast between the prime relevance of HTR1B in regulating memory and motivation and the limited evidence brought by genetic association studies in humans are discussed, and some suggestions for possible future directions are provided.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-27
Number of pages23
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Pharmacology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2010


  • 5-HT1B
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Gene
  • Memory
  • Motivation
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Psychotic disorder
  • Receptor
  • Serotonin
  • Single nucleotide polymorphism
  • Substance-related disorders
  • Suicide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Pharmacology


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