Conversely, if its deficiency can induce depression, its presence can reduce those symptoms. Therefore, serotonin can be used as anti-depressant. Serotonin also plays a crucial role as a hormone. It is believed that it is associated with embryonic development of forebrain. Research on mice showed that gut serotonin regulate bone production by inhibiting osteoblastic activity. A reduction of gut serotonin level by 40% in osteoporotic mice resulted in complete healing of the bone. This could indicate excessive suppression of osteoblasts, a possible adverse function of serotonin.
The drugs such as Prozac and Zoloft are called Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors or simply SSRIs. These drugs target the serotonin transporter present at the neuronal junctions or synapses. The function of these transporters is to reuptake the serotonin that was released as a result of neural depolarization after its function is no longer needed. Inhibition of these transport channels reduce reuptake, enhancing the effect of serotonin by allowing it to bind receptors for a longer duration and thus generating a stronger stimulus. These drugs are used to treat patients with depression as it is believed that they are low in serotonin levels.
Serotonin is synthesized at two major locations in the body. Serotonergic neurons in the central nervous system produce serotonin. But this is not the only place for serotonin synthesis; some specialized cells in the gastro intestinal tract also secrete this molecule. Yes, serotonin has different functions depending on the site of its release. It serves as a neurotransmitter in specific neurons of central nervous system. Its presence is associated with psychological feeling of happiness and wellbeing. It also takes part in the development of cognitive functioning and emotional structure of any individual. On the other hand serotonin released from the gut does not cross the blood brain barrier and do not participate in any higher level