Reduced serotonin receptors and transporters in normal aging adults: a meta-analysis of PET and SPECT imaging studies.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Alterations in serotonin (5-HT) function have been hypothesized to underlie a range of physiological, emotional, and cognitive changes in older age. Here, we conducted a quantitative synthesis and comparison of the effects of age on 5-HT receptors and transporters from cross-sectional positron emission tomography and single-photon emission computed tomography imaging studies. Random-effects meta-analyses of 31 studies including 1087 healthy adults yielded large negative effects of age in 5-HT-2A receptors (largest in global cortex), moderate negative effects of age in 5-HT transporters (largest in thalamus), and small negative effects of age in 5-HT-1A receptors (largest in parietal cortex). Presynaptic 5-HT-1A autoreceptors in raphe/midbrain, however, were preserved across adulthood. Adult age differences were significantly larger in 5-HT-2A receptors compared with 5-HT-1A receptors. A meta-regression showed that 5-HT target, radionuclide, and publication year significantly moderated the age effects. The findings overall identify reduced serotonergic signal transmission in healthy aging. The evidence for the relative preservation of 5-HT-1A compared with 5-HT-2A receptors may partially explain psychological age differences, such as why older adults use more emotion-focused rather than problem-focused coping strategies.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Karrer, TM; McLaughlin, CL; Guaglianone, CP; Samanez-Larkin, GR

Published Date

  • August 2019

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 80 /

Start / End Page

  • 1 - 10

PubMed ID

  • 31055162

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC6679764

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1558-1497

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0197-4580

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2019.03.021


  • eng