Seven Neurons of Psychopharmacology: Adaptive Regulation in Biogenic Amine Neurons



The mind of the medical clinician, no less than that of the researcher, travels often to models of physiological function. Although he knows such cartoonlike, mechanistic scenarios to be less than perfect, they serve to organize his observations. Vague discomfort arises when one must make such models explicit, for we know there is evidence missing for many steps in their pictorial development and the false steps we must knowingly take to ensure their continuity. Likewise, I didn’t enjoy the news that the mathematical models used to predict the tides for the next ten years had nothing to do with the mechanisms of tide formation, or the fact that Wall Street chartists often don’t know anything about the companies the stock prices of which they predict. Chloral hydrate does not decompose to chloroform in the body, even though a century ago this explanatory model predicted much of its clinical pharmacology: latency, duration, interactions with other drugs, and effects of overdose. The bromides are not antiepileptic because they reduce the frequency of masturbation, although that was the reason given for their first use.


Tyrosine Hydroxylase Biogenic Amine Psychotropic Drug Model Neuron Tryptophan Hydroxylase 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of MedicineUniversity of California at San DiegoLa JollaUSA

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