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Published on February 18, 2019 | Updated on February 18, 2019

Rémi Janet

February 26, 2019

 Relationship between serotonin transporter rate and brain activity associated with perception of social dominance: a simultaneous TEP-fMRI study in human.

Numerous clinical study data highlight the importance of the serotonergic system in the regulation of social behavior and more particularly in the management of social stress induced by social interactions (Sandi and Haller, 2015; Van.Der.Kooij and Sandi, 2015). Serotroninergic system deficits are associated with social behavioral disturbances in both animals and humans (Sandi and Haller, 2015). In particular, low levels of serotonin are associated with aggressive behaviors (Brown et al., 1979) but also to psychopathological disorders such as depression or anxiety (Owens and Nemeroff, 1994), thus the serotonergic system appears to play a key role in regulating social behaviors and maintaining mental health. Despite of the impact on mental health, relatively little information exists on the link between brain activations related to social stress situation and serotonin level in these different brain areas. The goal of this project is to understand the interactions between serotonin transporter level and brain response during a social stress situation. Experimentally, social stress can be induced in different ways, one of which is to face the participant to situations of competitive social interaction or to situations of perception of various states in other individuals, such as emotions or dominance traits.

We will therefore try to highlight the correlations that may exist between serotonin transporter level (regulator of serotonin transmission) and brain activities during tasks of perception and learning of the hierarchy, but also during emotion recognition, two situations generating stress. Finally, we will attempt to link these correlations with the temperaments of subjects, but also their hormone levels (testosterone and cortisol) to establish a complete assessment of the processes involved in such learning.