Kash Lab Publishes in Nature

UNC School of Medicine researchers map the anxiety circuit in the brain and use a compound to limit fearful behavior – an acute side effect of commonly prescribed SSRI antidepressants.

Kash Lab Publishes in Nature click to enlarge Thomas Kash, PhD

The new study, published in Nature, counters the popular view of serotonin as a neurotransmitter that promotes only good feelings. SSRIs, which are taken by about one in 10 people in the United States and about one in four women in their 40s and 50s, are thought to improve mood by boosting serotonin activity in the brain. There are brain circuits through which serotonin does seem to improve mood, and some studies have linked depression to abnormally low levels of serotonin. But the short-lived promotion of anxiety in many patients on SSRIs – even suicidal thinking, particularly in younger people – has long hinted that serotonin can have negative effects on mood, depending on the precise brain circuit where it acts.

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