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A new study casts doubt on the long-established notion that serotonin deficiency - a chemical neurotransmitter in the brain - plays a key role in depression. Researchers report that mice that lacked the ability to make serotonin in the brain (and thus should have been "depressed" according to established beliefs) did not show depression-like symptoms.

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This writes Science Daily.

Science Daily points out that depression is a major public health problem. More than 350 million people suffer from it, according to the World Health Organization, and it is the leading cause of disability worldwide. In the 1980s, the antidepressant Prozac emerged, which had as its mechanism of action to affect the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain.

In the wake of this, a large number of other antidepressant drugs appeared that also try to affect the amount of serotonin in the brain, according to Science Daily.

The problem with antidepressant treatment is that 60 to 70 percent of these patients continue to feel depressed, even while on medication.





 

The researchers: - Serotonin does not play a crucial role in relation to depression

Donald Kuhn and colleagues set out to investigate the role of serotonin in the development of depression.





In the new study, they examined mice that lacked the ability to produce serotonin in the brain. They found that the mice became compulsive and very aggressive, but that they did not show depression-like symptoms.

The researchers conclude that the study may indicate that serotonin does not play a crucial role in relation to depression, but that there are various factors involved. According to the researchers, these results could dramatically change how the hunt for new antidepressants moves in the future.

 

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