Dopaminergic, serotonergic and noradrenergic nuclei form the trimonoamine modulating system (TMMS). This system modulates emotional/motivational activities mediated by the limbic circuitry, where glutamate is the major excitatory neurotransmitter. Two main concepts are the basis of this review. First, since 1950 and the discovery of the antipsychotic activity of the dopamine D2 receptor antagonist chlorpromazine, it appears that drugs that can modulate the TMMS possess therapeutic psychiatric properties. Second, the concept of glutamate/trimonoamine imbalance in the cortico-striato-thalamo-cortical loop that has been so successful in explaining the pathophysiology of Parkinson disease has been applied in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. This review will focus on the complex interactions between the fast synaptic glutamatergic transmission and the TMMS in specific parts of the limbic lobe and we will try to link these interactions to some psychiatric disorders, mainly depression, schizophrenia and drug addiction.
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