Sporadic Autonomic Dysregulation and Death Associated with Excessive Serotonin Autoinhibition

Excessive autoinhibition was found to be a risk factor for autonomic dysregulation by Enrica Audero and her colleagues from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Monterotondo, Italy. It could also be a mechanism by which altered homeostasis plays a role in sudden infant death syndrome.

Sudden infant death syndrome is the major cause of death of infants in developed countries. Post mortem studies showed that there were altered neurons in their brainstems. Thus, the Italian scientists investigated, how an altered homeostasis might be the cause of death. For this purpose, the research team altered the autoinhibitory capacity of neurons by overexpressing in transgenic mice. This led to sporadic bradycardia and hypothermia, only in a limited developmental time frame, but frequently resulted in death. Those mice also failed to activate autonomic target organs to respond to environmental challenges.

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