“It was a complete surprise when we found
that serotonin, a chemical best known for its involvement in mood
regulation, plays an important role in controlling the secretion of
milk in the mammary glands,” said Dr. Horseman.
Serotonin, along with other regulatory
hormones such as dopamine and adrenaline, is classified as a biogenic
monoamine. Until now, this molecule has not been associated with the
development of mammary glands. Dr. Horseman’s group found that mammary
glands stimulated by prolactin express genes necessary for the
biosynthesis of serotonin.
Findings from this study may suggest that
drugs that alter serotonin synthesis or activity could have effects on
milk production, milk quality, or breast cancer.