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Serotonin and the Last Great Bioassay

Francisco Mora and G. Edgar Folk, Jr.

There is little recorded history of the bench work and experimental proof of serotonin as a neurotransmitter, only the third neurotransmitter to be discovered. This review contains an account of serotonin (5-HT) as a neurotransmitter in invertebrates and vertebrates. The studies on invertebrates provided the foundation for our present knowledge of the function of this neurohumor in the mammalian nervous system. The pioneer work of John Henry Welsh before 1954 laid much of the necessary groundwork. Welsh pointed out the opposing actions of 5-HT and ACh on the Venus heart, anticipated and demonstrated the importance of 5-HT as a synaptic transmitter, recommended the concept of the “serotoninergic neuron”, suggested and taught the term “neurohormone”, urged that studies be focused on “receptor sites” and showed how molecular configuration affects pharmacological action. An extension of his foresight is a clinical procedure used today, namely the administering to the mentally ill of those drugs which modify serotonin neurotransmission. John Welsh must be included with other pioneer researchers of neurotransmission such as Otto Loewi, Walter B. Cannon and G.H. Parker and recognized as an outstanding futurist in the study of neurotransmitter.

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  How to cite this article:

Francisco Mora and G. Edgar Folk, Jr. , 2003. Serotonin and the Last Great Bioassay. Journal of Biological Sciences, 3: 951-960.

DOI: 10.3923/jbs.2003.951.960


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