Soy and social stress affect serotonin neurotransmission in primates

C. A. Shively*, S. J. Mirkes, N. Z. Lu, J. A. Henderson, C. L. Bethea

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Stress and sex steroidal milieu can each influence mood in women. The purpose of this study was to compare the effect of long-term conjugated equine estrogen (CEE), soy phytoestrogen (SPE), and social subordination stress on dorsal raphe serotonin neurotransmission of ovariectomized cynomolgus monkeys. Tryptophan hydroxylase (TPH) and serotonin reuptake transporter (SERT) protein content were determined, and the in vitro degradation of macaque SERT protein was examined in the presence and absence of protease inhibitors, serotonin (5-HT), and citalopram. Like CEE, SPE increased TPH protein levels. Social subordinates had markedly lower TPH protein levels than dominants regardless of hormone replacement. Therefore, these two variables had independent and additive effects. CEE and SPE increased SERT, and social status had no effect. Thus, the hormone-induced increase in SERT was accompanied by increased 5-HT synthesis and neuronal firing, which appears biologically reasonable as 5-HT prevented SERT degradation in vitro.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)114-121
Number of pages8
JournalPharmacogenomics Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2003


  • Mood
  • Primates
  • Serotonin
  • Social dominance
  • Soy
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology


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