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Researchers reveal Prozac reactions to increase serotonin level

July 05, 2019

Hence, "this will work has revealed, for the first time, that antidepressants are able to activate a new 'source' of serotonin in the brain", explain the researchers "Furthermore, our results demonstrate that the effectiveness of Prozac rests on the 'plastic' properties of the noradrenaline neurons, i.e. their capacity to acquire the functions of serotonergic neurons".

To elucidate the mode of action of Prozac, the researchers from the Ile-de-France region used neuron stem cells which were able to differentiate themselves into neurons for manufacturing serotonin or noradrenaline. The cells, isolated and characterised by the two research teams, allowed them to reveal using pharmacological and molecular approaches, the functional links between Prozac, miR-16, serotonin transporter and the signal-molecule trigger, known as S100Beta. These links observed in vitro have been validated in vivo in mice, in the serotonergic neurons of the raphe and the noradrenaline neurons in the locus coeruleus. Dialogue between these two areas of the brain, situated under the cortex in the brainstem, is therefore one of the keys to Prozac action.

Behavioural tests have moreover confirmed the importance of miR-16 as an intermediary in Prozac action.

These results open up new avenues of research for the treatment of depressive states. Each of the "actors" in the sequence of reactions initiated by Prozac constitutes a potential pharmacological target.

The pharmacological dynamics of antidepressants, i.e. the study of the speed of action of these molecules, should also be the subject of new investigations in light of these new ideas.

Source: INSERM (Institut national de la sant??? et de la recherche m???dicale)