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Why in News:

  • Researchers at TIFR say the chemical can impact the manner in which neurons grapple with stress and affect ageing


  • researchers at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) Mumbai have found a novel
  • function for serotonin (a chemical that signals between neurons)
  • The recent discovery establishes that serotonin is involved in the generation of new mitochondria (the powerhouse of the cell) in neurons, increased cellular respiration and fuel (ATP) in the cell.

Underlying mechanism

  • At the level of an organism, serotonin is known to be involved in coping with stress
  • The study provides insights into how serotonin generates more mitochondria thereby giving neurons the capacity to produce more energy and the ability to cope with stress better.
  • It is found that serotonin reduces reactive oxygen species, thus providing neuroprotection against cellular stress. Serotonin can impact the manner in which neurons grapple with stress and affect the trajectory of ageing,
  • Neuronal loss is a major cause of neurodegenerative diseases such as in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s

Experimental proof

  • Injecting serotonin directly into the brain of rats led to direct increase in mitochondria number and ATP level. This study paves way for further research into designing therapeutic interventions. This may help tackle mood disorders and age-associated neurological decline,
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