Serotonin may help treat Neurological decline

Researchers at Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Mumbai found new function for stress buster Serotonin. The serotonin may help treat neurological diseases. The results of this study were published in journal named ‘Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences’ (PNAS).

About Serotonin

  • Its chemical name is 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT). It is a monoamine neurotransmitter which means, it is a chemical that signals between neurons.
  • It is a chemical in brain that makes us calm therefore, an increase in 5-HT may enhance individuals capacity to respond to stress.
  • Functions: At level of an organism, serotonin is known to be helpful in coping with stress. But, underlying mechanism of its neuro-protective role was unknown.
  • Significance of recent discovery: It shows that serotonin is involved in generation of new mitochondria (powerhouse of the cell) in neurons, increased cellular respiration and fuel (ATP) in cell.
  • Applications: So far, Serotonin’s newly identified function was only studied in mice and rats. If found to be true in humans, it may have important medical implications like serotonin signalling could be used to prevent mitochondrial abnormalities and neuronal loss. At present, neuronal loss is a major cause of neurodegenerative diseases such as in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Besides this, abnormal mitochondrial functions are known to cause or contribute to neuronal death.

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