A new study has discovered that neurons are capable of controlling the amount of dopamine they release, heralding a profound change in the way understanding mental health issues such as schizophrenia and depression.
A team of researchers from the University of Pittsburgh made the discoveries regarding the communication mechanism between neurons that counters what was previously believed about neural communication.
Dr. Zachery Freyberg led the research and he told Medical News Today “Our findings demonstrate, for the first time, that neurons can change how much dopamine they release as a function of their overall activity.
“When this mechanism doesn’t work properly, it could lead to profound effects on health.
“Our findings were completely unexpected. They contradict the existing dogma that a finite amount of chemical signal is loaded into a vesicle at any given time, and that vesicle acidity is fixed.”
The researchers believe that their discovery has the potential to revolutionize existing notions surrounding neural mechanisms.
Dr. Freyberg concluded: “This calls into question the whole textbook model of vesicles as having fixed amounts of single neurotransmitters.
“It appears that these vesicles contain both dopamine and glutamate, and dynamically modify their content to match the conditions of the cell as needed.”
The news comes at a time when researchers are finding new cells in the brain that categorize neurons at a molecular level.
Such findings mean scientists may be able to enhance human intelligence.