Serotonin News and Research

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Serotonin is one of several chemical messengers in the brain, or neurotransmitters, which help brain cells communicate with one another. Among many other functions, serotonin is involved in regulating mood. Problems with making or using the right amount of serotonin have been linked to many mental disorders, including depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder, autism, and schizophrenia.

There are many genes that code for serotonin. Some of these genes guide serotonin production and other are involved in its activity. The serotonin transporter gene makes a protein that directs serotonin from the space between brain cells — where most neurotransmitters are relayed from one cell to another — back into cells, where it can be reused. Since the most widely prescribed class of medications for treating major depression acts by blocking this transporter protein, the gene has been a prime suspect in mood and anxiety disorders.

The serotonin transporter gene has many versions. Since everyone inherits a copy of this gene from each parent, a person may have two copies of the same version or one copy each of two different versions. One version of the serotonin transporter gene makes less protein, resulting in decreased transport of serotonin back into cells. This version has also long been the focus of depression research due to its suggested effect on risk.
Antidepressants and anti-seizure drugs can effectively treat diabetic nerve pain, research finds

Antidepressants and anti-seizure drugs can effectively treat diabetic nerve pain, research finds

Researchers prove prescription weight-loss pill decreases urge to use opiates

Researchers prove prescription weight-loss pill decreases urge to use opiates

Study shows effect of spiritual retreats on neurotransmitter systems in the brain

Study shows effect of spiritual retreats on neurotransmitter systems in the brain

FDA approves drug as add-on treatment for Parkinson's disease patients

FDA approves drug as add-on treatment for Parkinson's disease patients

Mouse study provides target for development of faster-acting antidepressant medications

Mouse study provides target for development of faster-acting antidepressant medications

Neuroscientists elucidate how serotonin helps to deal with unfamiliar changing environment

Neuroscientists elucidate how serotonin helps to deal with unfamiliar changing environment

SSRIs may reduce risk of revision surgery following total hip or knee replacement

SSRIs may reduce risk of revision surgery following total hip or knee replacement

Scientists find evidence for gene that may be linked to social phobia

Scientists find evidence for gene that may be linked to social phobia

Study reports presence of structural changes in the brain during medication treatment for depression

Study reports presence of structural changes in the brain during medication treatment for depression

Neuroscientists examine how 'decision uncertainty' signals drive rapid changes in pupil size

Neuroscientists examine how 'decision uncertainty' signals drive rapid changes in pupil size

Study provides new insights into side effects of antipsychotics

Study provides new insights into side effects of antipsychotics

Study finding suggests new ways in which genetic mutations may cause brain disorders

Study finding suggests new ways in which genetic mutations may cause brain disorders

Deep brain stimulation may help improve mental, physical health in patients with anorexia nervosa

Deep brain stimulation may help improve mental, physical health in patients with anorexia nervosa

Study provides insights into how excess serotonin affects motivation

Study provides insights into how excess serotonin affects motivation

Melatonin content of dietary supplements shows wide variability, study finds

Melatonin content of dietary supplements shows wide variability, study finds

New drug discovered in zebrafish model of pediatric epilepsy shows promising results in clinical study

New drug discovered in zebrafish model of pediatric epilepsy shows promising results in clinical study

TSRI biologists identify brain hormone that selectively stimulates fat metabolism

TSRI biologists identify brain hormone that selectively stimulates fat metabolism

LSD influences perception by stimulating serotonin receptors in the brain

LSD influences perception by stimulating serotonin receptors in the brain

Anxiety linked to severe quality-of-life impairment in postmenopausal women

Anxiety linked to severe quality-of-life impairment in postmenopausal women

Functional MRI brain scan may help predict patient’s response to antidepressant therapy

Functional MRI brain scan may help predict patient’s response to antidepressant therapy