Serotonin is used faster in the winter by people suffering from seasonal depression when compared with a control group, according to research published in Neuropsychopharmacology this month. The research also shows that serotonin usage returns to normal both where depression is treated effectively and during the summer months.
In depression, studies have found that the brain has too little of a neurotransmitter known as serotonin. However, why the brains of people with depression have low levels of serotonin is not known. Matthaus Williet and colleagues studied the primary way that the brain removes serotonin, known as the serotonin transporter, using an easily accessible model system: the blood platelets. The researchers tested this for a specific type of depression, known as seasonal depression; a depression that worsens in the winter and improves in the summer. This finding, if replicated, could help identify people at risk for depression and could lead to development of a new line of treatment.
Matthaus Willeit (Medical University Vienna, Austria)
© Neuropsychopharmacology press release.
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