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.
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

Study reveals self-harm is leading cause of pregnancy-related deaths in Colorado

Study reveals self-harm is leading cause of pregnancy-related deaths in Colorado

QUT neuroscientist shows how brainpower could be key to mange stress and lose weight

QUT neuroscientist shows how brainpower could be key to mange stress and lose weight

Antidepressant use in early pregnancy may increase risk of congenital anomalies in babies or stillbirths

Antidepressant use in early pregnancy may increase risk of congenital anomalies in babies or stillbirths

Scientists devise new radiation-free probe for imaging molecules in the brain

Scientists devise new radiation-free probe for imaging molecules in the brain

Bone density could be one of early indicators of brain degeneration in Alzheimer's disease

Bone density could be one of early indicators of brain degeneration in Alzheimer's disease

Electro-acupuncture may be effective in treating sleep disturbances in women with breast cancer

Electro-acupuncture may be effective in treating sleep disturbances in women with breast cancer

Length of telomeres may reveal if vitamin D and omega-3 supplements improve heart health, longevity

Length of telomeres may reveal if vitamin D and omega-3 supplements improve heart health, longevity

Study provides new insights into how the social brain works differently in males and females

Study provides new insights into how the social brain works differently in males and females

MIT researchers develop imaging technique that provides unprecedented view of serotonin dynamics

MIT researchers develop imaging technique that provides unprecedented view of serotonin dynamics

Study links repeated SSRIs during pregnancy to childhood language disorders

Study links repeated SSRIs during pregnancy to childhood language disorders

UCLA-led study to evaluate treatment strategies for older adults with depression

UCLA-led study to evaluate treatment strategies for older adults with depression

Tendency to feel lonely linked partially to genetic traits

Tendency to feel lonely linked partially to genetic traits