Forsyth Study Also Provides Insight to Possible Complications from Serotonin Blocking Drugs
Researchers at The Forsyth Institute have discovered that the transport mechanisms for serotonin — the chemical substance involved in transmitting signals between neurons, and which has a role in anxiety and mood disorders — play a key role in determining where organs are positioned in the body during embryonic development. Transporters bring serotonin into cells. The research team, led by Dr. Michael Levin, found that when the transport of serotonin into cells was blocked, normal development was disrupted in frog and chick embryos.
In particular, left-right asymmetry, the process through which cells “know” which side they are on as they form body organs such as the heart and liver, is controlled by serotonin transporters. Michael Levin, PhD., Associate Member of the Staff, conducted his research with substances commonly used to treat mood disorders in humans including the drug Prozac. These drugs address chemical imbalances in the brain by blocking serotonin’s removal from the space between neurons.
Jennifer Kelly | EurekAlert!
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