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A mechanistic account of serotonin's impact on mood

Michely, J; Eldar, E; Martin, IM; Dolan, RJ; (2020) A mechanistic account of serotonin's impact on mood. Nature Communications , 11 (1) , Article 2335. 10.1038/s41467-020-16090-2. Green open access

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Abstract

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) constitute a first-line antidepressant intervention, though the precise cognitive and computational mechanisms that explain treatment response remain elusive. Using week-long SSRI treatment in healthy volunteer participants, we show serotonin enhances the impact of experimentally induced positive affect on learning of novel, and reconsolidation of previously learned, reward associations. Computational modelling indicated these effects are best accounted for by a boost in subjective reward perception during learning, following a positive, but not negative, mood induction. Thus, instead of influencing affect or reward sensitivity directly, SSRIs might amplify an interaction between the two, giving rise to a delayed mood response. We suggest this modulation of affect-learning dynamics may explain the evolution of a gradual mood improvement seen with these agents and provides a novel candidate mechanism for the unfolding of serotonin's antidepressant effects over time.

Type: Article
Title: A mechanistic account of serotonin's impact on mood
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-16090-2
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-16090-2
Language: English
Additional information: © 2020 Springer Nature Limited. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: Cognitive neuroscience, Computational neuroscience, Decision, Learning algorithms
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology > Imaging Neuroscience
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10097724
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