Examining the Effects of Serotonin on Medium Spiny Neurons (MSNs)

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Examining the Effects of Serotonin on Medium Spiny Neurons (MSNs)

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Serotonin is the key hormone in stabilizing our mood and feelings of well-being. The relationship between alterations in the levels of serotonin in the central nervous system and depression has been well-established. The most common antidepressants prescribed to alleviate the symptoms of depression are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which increase the levels of serotonin in the brain. Although these drugs are prescribed to pregnant women with chronic depression, how the SSRI-induced increase in the level of serotonin affects fetal brain development has been only minimally investigated. In this study, we investigated the effects of serotonin on the development of a particular type of neuron called medium spiny neurons (MSNs). These neurons are the major type of neurons present in the striatum, a brain region whose circuits have been implicated in depression. MSNs are known to have distinct morphological traits of cell body size, dendritic branching pattern and high density of dendritic spines. Although many studies have focused on the role of serotonin in regulating the function of the mature striatum, an exhaustive literature review identified no studies that have specifically examined the role of serotonin on MSN development. Our study hints towards a trend that an increase in serotonin might lead to an increase in dendritic branching of MSNs. These results indicate a need for caution about the consumption of SSRIs by pregnant women.



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Belhe, Aishwarya. (2022). Examining the Effects of Serotonin on Medium Spiny Neurons (MSNs). Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy, https://hdl.handle.net/11299/243477.

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