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Antidepressants in Young Mice
Mice exposed to a common antidepressant, fluoxetine (Prozac), in early postnatal development exhibited abnormal emotional behavior in adulthood, according to a new study in the 29 October 2004 issue of the journal Science.
These animals behaved like transgenic mice without the serotonin transporter. This transporter is the target for many antidepressants, especially the serotonin selective reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).
Mark Ansorge and colleagues say their findings demonstrate that serotonin receptor function modulates the development of brain systems involved in emotional and stress related responses. This new work points to a developmental mechanism that may explain how certain variants of the serotonin transporter gene increase vulnerability to psychiatric disorders.
The use of SSRI medication in pregnant mothers and young children may pose unsuspected risks of emotional disorders later in life, the authors suggest. Clinical studies, however, will be required to determine whether these findings hold for humans as well as rodents.
26 October 2004