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.
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

Characterizing the brain, cell by cell

Characterizing the brain, cell by cell

Study shows structural impact of membrane lipids on medically relevant serotonin transporters

Study shows structural impact of membrane lipids on medically relevant serotonin transporters

Antidepressant use during pregnancy could increase risk of birth defects in baby, study reveals

Antidepressant use during pregnancy could increase risk of birth defects in baby, study reveals

Antidepressant use doubles hip fracture risk among elders with Alzheimer's disease

Antidepressant use doubles hip fracture risk among elders with Alzheimer's disease

Second-hand smoke exposures before conception affect fetal brain development

Second-hand smoke exposures before conception affect fetal brain development

New evidence may explain how gut microorganisms affect human physiology

New evidence may explain how gut microorganisms affect human physiology

Researchers find effective cure for social anxiety disorders

Researchers find effective cure for social anxiety disorders

Novel approach shows promise for treating co-occurring PTSD and SUD

Novel approach shows promise for treating co-occurring PTSD and SUD