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.
Prebiotics could enhance the learning and memory skills of infants

Prebiotics could enhance the learning and memory skills of infants

Study identifies new target for treatment of depression

Study identifies new target for treatment of depression

Genetic analysis can enhance outcomes of depression treatment

Genetic analysis can enhance outcomes of depression treatment

UTA researchers analyze challenges in pain management for the elderly

UTA researchers analyze challenges in pain management for the elderly

Brief test can help determine whether drugs, talk therapy work better for treating anxiety

Brief test can help determine whether drugs, talk therapy work better for treating anxiety

UA researcher awarded $2.3 million NIH grant to develop new treatments for depression

UA researcher awarded $2.3 million NIH grant to develop new treatments for depression

Study characterizes effects of opioids on brain proteins other than opioid receptors

Study characterizes effects of opioids on brain proteins other than opioid receptors

New targeted treatment could benefit patients with certain pancreatic tumors

New targeted treatment could benefit patients with certain pancreatic tumors

Researchers uncover link between abdominal aortic aneurysm and dysregulated tryptophan metabolism

Researchers uncover link between abdominal aortic aneurysm and dysregulated tryptophan metabolism

Scientists develop potential new antidepressant with unique mechanism of action

Scientists develop potential new antidepressant with unique mechanism of action

Opioid and antidepressant use related to increased risk of osteoporotic fractures for RA patients

Opioid and antidepressant use related to increased risk of osteoporotic fractures for RA patients

ACADIA Pharmaceuticals announces results from Phase II study of antipsychotic in Alzheimer's disease psychosis

ACADIA Pharmaceuticals announces results from Phase II study of antipsychotic in Alzheimer's disease psychosis

Commonly prescribed medications may not benefit depressed CKD patients

Commonly prescribed medications may not benefit depressed CKD patients

Developmental abnormality discovered in babies linked to SIDS

Developmental abnormality discovered in babies linked to SIDS

Antidepressant use in children, adolescents linked to increased risk of type 2 diabetes

Antidepressant use in children, adolescents linked to increased risk of type 2 diabetes

Four genes associated with OCD identified

Four genes associated with OCD identified

BMC researchers studying possibility of weight loss drugs to combat cocaine addiction

BMC researchers studying possibility of weight loss drugs to combat cocaine addiction

Study may provide insights into treating autism and other neuropsychiatric disorders

Study may provide insights into treating autism and other neuropsychiatric disorders

Study examines effectiveness of placebo and antidepressants in children, adolescents

Study examines effectiveness of placebo and antidepressants in children, adolescents

Abnormalities in common brain chemical linked to sudden infant death syndrome

Abnormalities in common brain chemical linked to sudden infant death syndrome