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Neurobiological circuit function and computation of the serotonergic and related systems

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Serotonin is one of the oldest neurotransmitters in evolutionary terms, and the serotonergic system is complex and multifaceted. Serotonin-producing neurons in the raphe nuclei provide serotonin innervations throughout various parts of the brain, modulating cellular excitability and network properties of ...

Serotonin is one of the oldest neurotransmitters in evolutionary terms, and the serotonergic system is complex and multifaceted. Serotonin-producing neurons in the raphe nuclei provide serotonin innervations throughout various parts of the brain, modulating cellular excitability and network properties of targeted brain areas, and regulating mood, cognition and behavior. Dysfunctions of the serotonergic system are implicated in neuropsychiatric disorders including depression, schizophrenia, and drug abuse. Although the system has been studied for many years, an integrative account of its underlying neurobiological computation remains to be established. This is partly attributed to the high variability and heterogeneity in terms of neuronal properties and receptor types, and its extensive connections with other brain regions. In this Frontiers Research Topics issue, we are searching for new experimental and computational work and approaches that can help elucidate the serotonergic system in an integrated way. The aim of this issue is not only to present the latest scientific results, but also the state-of-the-art techniques to investigate this neuromodulatory system, which may in turn provide novel or challenging viewpoints. We welcome experimental work that can help provide insights into the serotonergic system’s circuit, computational capabilities and limitations. Work that reveals the function of the serotonergic system with related brain regions at the neuronal circuit level would be particularly welcomed, including perturbation of the system in animal model or human clinical studies. We especially encourage experimental approaches that can bridge from cellular to behavioral levels (e.g. optogenetics in behaving animals, multimodal neuroimaging in humans). We encourage computational modeling and analytical work that can help elucidate and provide testable predictions of the various computations and functions of the serotonergic and related systems. We particularly welcome biologically realistic models, multi-scale models, or computational models that involve neuronal circuits.


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