Serotonin is an important neuromodulator associated with a wide range of physiological effects in the central nervous system. The exact mechanisms whereby serotonin influences brain development are not well understood, although studies in invertebrate and vertebrate model organisms are beginning to unravel a regulatory role for serotonin in neuronal morphology and circuit formation. Recent data suggest a developmental window during which altered serotonin levels permanently influence neuronal circuitry, however, the temporal constraints and molecular mechanisms responsible are still under investigation. Growing evidence suggests that alterations in early serotonin signaling contribute to a number of neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders. Thus, understanding how altered serotonin signaling affects neuronal morphology and plasticity, and ultimately animal physiology and pathophysiology, will be of great significance.
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