Recent studies have suggested there is not enough evidence to support the serotonin hypothesis for depression. However, a new study shows direct evidence of disrupted serotonin release in the brains of those with depression.
SERT Ala56 impacts the structure of the SERT protein cells, increasing the activity of the transporter to abnormally high levels. The high-activity state results in the removal of too much serotonin from brain sites where serotonin is needed, both during development and in adults.
Study reveals how serotonin plays a key role in the scaling of current sensory input and outgoing brain signals.
Serotonin and SSRIs like Prozac can have a major effect on gut bacteria. When exposed to serotonin, specific gut bacteria grew to higher levels. However, when exposed to SSRIs, the bacterium grew to much lower levels in mouse models.
Serotonin produced by the raphe is critical for sleep in both mice and zebrafish. The firing of neurons in the raphe and the release of serotonin may help the brain build up better sleep pressure. The results may explain why some sleep-related side effects of antidepressants increase serotonin in the brain.
Somatic awareness, a condition previously believed to be of psychological origin, is connected to a common genetic variant. The mutation leads to the malfunctioning of an enzyme critical for serotonin production.
Mice with a genetic mutation linked to severe depression had impaired ability for neurons in the gut and brain to create serotonin. The reduction of serotonin in the gut led to a deterioration in the gut's lining, slowing the movement of contents through the GI tract and resulting in constipation. However, treatment with 5-HTP increased neurogenesis in the gut, restoring normal function.
A new study in mice reveals a possible link between the use of SSRI antidepressants during pregnancy and an increased risk of autism-like symptoms in offspring. Offspring exposed to fluoxetine (Prozac) in utero were more likely to exhibit impaired neurotransmission caused by an overactive serotonin receptor in the prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain implicated in modulating social behaviors. However, treating the mice with a compound that blocks the receptor alleviated the behavioral problems and improved working memory.
Researchers have created new 3D maps of two melatonin receptors. The models can be used to help develop new treatments that not only improve sleep, but may also treat a variety of other conditions from diabetes to cancer.