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Does risk of embryonic malformations outweigh benefits of using SSRIs in pregnant women?

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc./Genetic Engineering News

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Credit: Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers

New Rochelle, NY, October 15, 2018--A comprehensive new review article presents the most current understanding of the role selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) play in increased risk of multiple diverse gestational malformations and takes aim at the ongoing debate over whether SSRIs as a drug class can cause these malformations. The article, which also highlights the importance of serotonin - a key mediator of bioelectric control mechanisms - in normal embryonic development, is published in the preview issue of Bioelectricity, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. Click here to read the full-text article free on the Bioelectricity website.

Entitled "Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor Use During Pregnancy and Major Malformations: The Importance of Serotonin for Embryonic Development and the Effect of Serotonin Inhibition on the Occurrence of Malformations," the article was coauthored by Anick Bérard, PhD, University of Montreal (Quebec, Canada), Michael Levin, PhD, Tufts University (Medford, MA), Thomas Sadler, PhD, University of Utah School of Medicine (Salt Lake City), and David Healy, MD, Hergest Unit (Bangor, U.K.).

The researchers examined the body of research related to serotonin, its inhibition using SSRIs, and the relationship to embryonic development and malformations. SSRIs can disrupt embryonic development in multiple ways, including through its effects on serotonin levels and on the activity of ion channels in cells, affecting bioelectric mechanisms and serotonergic cell signaling.

"This review is a particularly important contribution to the debate about SSRI use during pregnancy," says Dany Spencer Adams, Editor-in-Chief of Bioelectricity, from Tufts University, Medford, MA. "In addition to combining the epidemiological data with relevant evidence from model systems, it incorporates the newly recognized bioelectric mechanisms of SSRI effects, as well as empirical evidence for the role of serotonin in embryos prior to the development of the nervous system. It also proposes that widespread belief in the drug's safety could result from the focus on the lower incidence of particular phenotypes, such as heart malformations, rather than recognizing the full variety of malformations as resulting from a single common cause - disruption of serotonin signaling.

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About the Journal

Bioelectricity is the only peer-reviewed journal dedicated to the study of the natural electricity within living organisms and how to harness this phenomenon to treat and cure disease. Led by Editor-in-Chief Dany Spencer Adams, Tufts University, Medford, MA, the Journal will publish groundbreaking multidisciplinary research and advances documenting this next step in the evolution of how we study life. For complete information, please visit the Bioelectricity website.

About the Publisher

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers is a privately held, fully integrated media company known for establishing authoritative peer-reviewed journals in many promising areas of science and biomedical research, including Stem Cells and Development, Tissue Engineering, and The CRISPR Journal. Its biotechnology trade magazine, GEN (Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News), was the first in its field and is today the industry's most widely read publication worldwide. A complete list of the firm's more than 80 journals, newsmagazines, and books is available on the Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers website.

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