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.
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

Antidepressant users have higher risk of death than non-users, researchers find

Antidepressant users have higher risk of death than non-users, researchers find

Antidepressants used for chronic pain relief come with significant side effects

Antidepressants used for chronic pain relief come with significant side effects

Better understanding of serotonin's function in the brain could lead to radical shift in psychiatric care

Better understanding of serotonin's function in the brain could lead to radical shift in psychiatric care

Cortisol mediates communication between gut bacteria and brain metabolites, study suggests

Cortisol mediates communication between gut bacteria and brain metabolites, study suggests

Older people treated with electroconvulsive therapy for depression may not get relief from insomnia

Older people treated with electroconvulsive therapy for depression may not get relief from insomnia

Dementia and low brain serotonin may be linked: Study finds

Dementia and low brain serotonin may be linked: Study finds

Brain scans reveal lower serotonin transporters in people with mild cognitive impairment

Brain scans reveal lower serotonin transporters in people with mild cognitive impairment

Study findings could lead to more effective and faster acting antidepressants

Study findings could lead to more effective and faster acting antidepressants

Research findings may provide path to new faster-acting antidepressants

Research findings may provide path to new faster-acting antidepressants

New study links unhealthy diet during pregnancy to mental health disorders in offspring

New study links unhealthy diet during pregnancy to mental health disorders in offspring

Study explores reasons for higher risk of depression in some women

Study explores reasons for higher risk of depression in some women

Study finds high levels of serotonin in blood of SIDS infants

Study finds high levels of serotonin in blood of SIDS infants

Researchers identify key protein that helps trigger ketamine's rapid antidepressant effects

Researchers identify key protein that helps trigger ketamine's rapid antidepressant effects

Single bout of exercise can have significant positive behavioral and cognitive effects

Single bout of exercise can have significant positive behavioral and cognitive effects

Antidepressant use during pregnancy not linked to newborn problems at 2-4 weeks after birth

Antidepressant use during pregnancy not linked to newborn problems at 2-4 weeks after birth