This schematic drawing of a serotonergic neuron shows exocytotic release of serotonin from vesicles (red arrow) and the nonexocytotic release described by Mlinar and colleagues (blue arrow). Reuptake of serotonin (green arrow) is blocked by SSRI antidepressants, increasing the extracellular serotonin concentration. Credit: Adell 2015
Depression affects an estimated 350 million people worldwide and poses a major public health challenge, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers have discovered an unconventional way that serotonin is released from neurons that could play an important role in the mechanism through which antidepressant drugs work. The Journal of General Physiology study is highlighted in the April issue.
Serotonin is a chemical in the brain that plays a key role in regulating various emotions and behaviors. Like other neurotransmitters, which relay signals between neurons, serotonin is stored in small sacs called vesicles in the presynaptic terminal of one neuron and released into the synapse…
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