Navigation Links
From happiness to pain: Understanding serotonin's function

In a study published today (August 22nd), in the scientific journal PLoS One, researchers at the Champalimaud Neuroscience Programme establish the effect of serotonin on sensitivity to pain using a combination of advanced genetic and optical techniques.

"Serotonin is a small molecule known to be implicated in a wide range of brain functions, from the control of sleep and appetite, to the regulation of complex emotional behaviours, This neurotransmitter is also popularly thought to contribute to feelings of well being and happiness, as some anti-depression medications work through increasing serotonin in the brain." says Zachary Mainen, CNP director and principal investigator of the Systems Neuroscience Lab.

Serotonin's great importance led researchers to seek ways of understanding its function, but studying it has been a long-standing challenge.

"Most of the cells that produce serotonin are located in a defined cell group called the Dorsal Raphe Nucleus (DRN)" explains Zachary Mainen. "This cell group is small and located deep in the brain, which makes targeting it difficult. In addition, other cells that produce and release different molecules are also present in the DRN, which means that general stimulation of the area may result in the release of other molecules besides serotonin."

"To overcome the limitations of previous studies and explore the specific function of serotonin, we used a combination of light and genetics, an approach called optogenetics" says Guillaume Dugué, a former postdoctoral researcher in the lab of Zachary Mainen. Using genetic techniques, the researchers expressed a light-sensitive protein specifically in the serotonin-producing cells of mice, so that when the researchers shone light on these cells, the cells released serotonin.

"The effect of the serotonin was clear" says Guillaume Dugué. "Mice that we stimulated to release serotonin showed a significant decrease in sensitivity to pain, when compared with mice in the control group."

"We devoted substantial efforts to optimising light activation of serotonin-producing cells. Overall these results provide a new level of evidence on the importance of serotonin in gating the influence of sensory inputs to behavioural outputs, a key physiological role that will help define large-scale theories of serotonin function. Moreover, it has possible implications for better understanding chronic pain treatment." concludes Zachary Mainen.


Contact: Maria Joao Soares

Related biology technology :

1. New Advances and Opportunities in Managing Pain: Translational Animal Models, New Webinar Hosted by Xtalks
2. How to Grow a Great Garden--With Less Pain: Tips From Topical BioMedics
3. The Voice of the Patient in Clinical Trials: Hearing It, Understanding It, New Webinar Hosted by Xtalks
4. Understanding and Implementing Effective Extractable and Leachable Programs, New Life Science Webinar Hosted by Xtalks
5. An In-Depth Understanding of the Chinese Pharmaceutical Industry
6. Dr. Ira Williams, Health Care Consultant, Recognizes How Health Care “Best of Intentions” Can Illustrate Lack of Understanding
7. ChanTest Initiates Project for the US FDA to Improve Understanding of the Interaction of Tobacco Products with Human Nicotinic Receptors
8. Understanding interface properties of graphene paves way for new applications
9. Veeva CRM Adds New Survey Functionality to Deepen Customer Understanding and Drive More Relevant Interactions
10. Understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying Alzheimers disease
11. Study led by GW professor provides better understanding of waters freezing behavior at nanoscale
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/13/2015)... , Oct. 13, 2015  According to ... services will reach $102 billion by the end ... of the health industry, as it is estimated ... result of laboratory tests. In addition to diagnosing ... to evaluate disease progression, monitor drug treatment and ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... ... October 13, 2015 , ... Exotic Automation & Supply ... and components, is opening its latest Parker Store retail location in Ann, Arbor, ... second major expansion in Metropolitan Detroit in less than a year. The Ann ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... NC (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2015 , ... ... intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) technologies, announced today that it received de novo clearance ... in the U.S. for the ablation of prostate tissue. Sonablate® is the ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... , ... October 13, 2015 , ... ... educational opportunities for school age children in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering ... sectors of the national economy, and the program aims to increase the number ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:10/13/2015)... 2015 Global Next Generation Biometric ... Market . --> Mordor Intelligence is pleased ... Next Generation Biometric Market . ) ... (Logo: ) --> ... expected to increase to $23.8 billion by 2020 at ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... 2015 Research and Markets ( ... "Iris Recognition Market by Component (Hardware & Software), ... Others), Industry (Travel & Immigration, Military & Defense, ... 2020" report to their offering. ... Recognition Market worth 3627.90 Million USD by 2020 ...
(Date:10/7/2015)... GOTHENBURG, Sweden , October 8, 2015 ... estimates the revenues for Fingerprint Cards (FPC) during third quarter ... communicated revenue guidance of around 860 MSEK that was communicated ... Considering a further strengthened delivery capacity and a continued ... fourth quarter 2015 is estimated to be higher than during ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):