Scientist Creates Specialized Nerve Cell that Makes Serotonin

Madison, WI (Scicasts) — Su-Chun Zhang, a pioneer in developing neurons from stem cells at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has created a specialized nerve cell that makes serotonin, a signalling chemical with a broad role in the brain. Serotonin affects emotions, sleep, anxiety, depression, appetite, pulse and breathing. It also plays a role in serious psychiatric conditions like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression. “Serotonin essentially modulates every aspect of brain function, including movement,” Zhang says. The transmitter is made by a small number of neurons localized on one structure at the back of the brain. Serotonin exerts its influence because the neurons that make it project to almost every part of the brain. The study, reported today in the journal Nature Biotechnology, began with two types of stem cells: one…


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