Sudden infant death syndrome may be caused in part by reduced binding of the neurotransmitter serotonin to receptors in the lower brainstem.

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Researchers may have identified the biological mechanism behind sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). A better understanding of the causes of the condition will help scientists develop tests that predict a baby’s risk of SIDS.

SIDS occurs when a seemingly healthy baby dies unexpectedly, usually in the first six months of life. It is not known why it happens, but it is thought to involve a combination of factors such as the child’s development and environmental exposures such as smoking.

To know more, Robin Haynes At Children’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts and her colleagues analyzed the brainstems of 70 infants, 58 of whom died of SIDS and 12 of whom died of other causes. Among the infants who died of SIDS, the researchers identified how the neurotransmitter serotonin interacted with their 5-HT2A/C receptors in the lower brainstem.

In mice, these receptors are associated with protective functions during sleep, such as the ability to respond to low oxygen levels by breathing or waking up.

Among infants who died of SIDS, the binding of serotonin to the 5-HT2A/C receptor decreased or the binding did not increase as expected as the infants grew, Haynes says.

These differences, combined with other biological and environmental factors, such as an infant’s sleeping position, may increase their risk for CIS, the researchers said.

A better understanding of the various mechanisms that can lead to SIDS, such as genetic abnormalities, will one day help scientists develop tests that predict a baby’s risk, Hein said. In the meantime, parents should follow sleep-free protocols; For example, they should follow protocols such as placing infants on their backs and keeping blankets away from their heads, the researchers said.

“One of the things that is clear is that, unlike other things, SIDS is not a single abnormality in a physiological system, but an interaction,” he says. Thomas Kins Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

The study found that serotonin binding did not increase with age among infants who died of SIDS, which may explain why these deaths usually occur between 2 and 4 months of age, which is when babies absorb more quickly. Changes in their breathing control.


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