The normal process of 5-HT synaptic activity

When a nerve impulse arrives at a 5-HT nerve terminal, 5-HT is released from synaptic vesicles into the synaptic cleft. 5-HT molecules bind to their receptors on the post-synaptic membrane and the nerve impulse is propagated or inhibited, depending on the specific receptor. 5-HT molecules are then released from the receptors and taken back into the nerve terminal via the 5-HT re-uptake transporter. 5-HT is degraded by MAO and COMT, these are found in both the synaptic cleft and in the nerve terminal.

  1. Other peripheral mediators: 5-hydroxytryptamine and purines. In: Pharmacology, 4th edition. Rang HP, Dale MM and Ritter JM. Edinburgh, UK: Harcourt Publishers Ltd, 2001:165–176
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