A Mechanism for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome?

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Science  04 Jul 2008:
Vol. 321, Issue 5885, pp. 12
DOI: 10.1126/science.321.5885.12h

Deficits in serotonin neurotransmission have been hypothesized to be involved in sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), the leading cause of death during the first year of life. Audero et al. (p. 130) describe a sporadic death phenotype in mice with increased serotonin autoinhibition as a result of overexpression of the serotonin 1A autoreceptor (Htr1a). Deficient serotonergic feedback regulation is sufficient to precipitate autonomic crisis and death. Until now, most SIDS research has focused on respiratory or cardiovascular deficits. These new findings, however, suggest that SIDS is associated with a widespread loss of sympathetic tone, including both bradycardia (slow heart rate) and hypothermia.

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