Serotonin

Image of the dorsal raphe area of the brain.

Neurotransmitter switch-up helps fan extreme stress into full-blown fear

The flip occurs when certain neurons in the dorsal raphe start to express the chemical GABA instead of glutamate, a new study shows.

By Claudia López Lloreda
9 April 2024 | 5 min read
Research image comparing microglia with serotonin receptors to those without.
Circuits Microphone

Serotonin powers pruning of developing brain circuits in mice

Mice with microglia missing receptors for the neurotransmitter serotonin since birth have too many synapses and show social difficulties in adulthood.

By Katie Moisse
28 June 2023 | 5 min listen
Mother and child rhesus macaque monkeys.

Serotonin initiates earliest social bonds

Mice and rats, for example, gravitate toward their mother’s bedding over bedding that is clean or smells of a different dam.

By Angie Voyles Askham
2 March 2023 | 5 min read
Scientist Gül Dölen smiles while looking towards the window in her lab's office.

In deep water with Gül Dölen

A researcher's existential crisis led to a scientific breakthrough.

By Peter Hess
3 August 2022 | 16 min listen
An illustration of a colorful, psychedelic landscape featuring two people standing on a hill speaking to one another

Tripping over the potential of psychedelics for autism

Drugs such as LSD act primarily on the serotonin system, which is implicated in autism — and some autistic people who experiment with psychoactive compounds report enhanced social connections, among other benefits. But researchers have more questions than answers.

By Alla Katsnelson
31 May 2022 | 10 min read
Spectrum Microphone

Serotonin shapes social memory signals

Social memory, which may be altered in autism, depends on serotonin-sensitive neurons that send signals from the medial septum to the hippocampus.

By Angie Voyles Askham
26 October 2021 | 5 min read
Illustration shows two octopi interacting on a yellow background.
Spectrum Microphone

Getting eight arms around autism

Octopuses can solve some of the same problems as people but do so in unusual ways.

By Sarah DeWeerdt
8 September 2021 | 4 min read

Drugs boost serotonin, socialization in multiple autism mouse models

The finding that MDMA and an experimental serotonin agonist increase sociability across six different model mice suggests that disparate autism-linked mutations converge on the same underlying pathways.

By Peter Hess
6 August 2021 | 4 min read
Illustration of transporter mice in brain maze
Spectrum Microphone

After 60 years, scientists are still trying to crack a mysterious serotonin-autism link

The high levels of serotonin seen in the blood of some autistic people have confounded scientists for more than half a century. Despite so little progress, some researchers refuse to give up.

By Grace Huckins
4 June 2021 | 9 min read
Spectrum Microphone

Sensor helps scientists spy on serotonin activity in mice in real time

A glowing protein tracks serotonin levels and location in the brains of living mice and could yield clues to the neurotransmitter’s role in autism.

By Peter Hess
5 February 2021 | 5 min read

Explore more from The Transmitter

Illustration of a scientist attempting to wrangle many forms of data at once: a pile of charts and graphs threatens to knock them off of their feet as they attempt to prop it up.

Neuroscience graduate students deserve comprehensive data-literacy education

Despite growing requirements around how to handle and share data, formal training is lacking.

By Letisha R. Wyatt
15 July 2024 | 6 min read

10 standards for brain electrode-array recordings enhance reproducibility

Electrophysiology findings can vary widely from lab to lab, even among those using identical protocols. New guidelines set forth in a preprint should help.

By Elissa Welle
12 July 2024 | 5 min read
A hand holds a stack of speech bubbles.

Leveraging the power of community to strengthen clinical trials for rare genetic syndromes

Families can become not only participants but champions of these research efforts.

By Shafali Spurling Jeste
11 July 2024 | 7 min read