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Prozac May Be Involved in Creating New Brain Cells

A new study reports the antidepressant fluoxetine, commonly called Prozac, Sarafem, or Fontex, is associated with the development of new nerve cells in the adult brain.

Researchers had previously determined that progeny nerve cells exist at the surface of the adult cortex and that a lack of blood, or ischemia, enhances the generation of new inhibitory neurons from these neural progenitor cells.

These cells were accordingly named “Layer 1 Inhibitory Neuron Progenitor cells” (L1-INP).

However, until now it was not known whether L1-INP-related neurogenesis could be induced in the normal adult cortex.

Researchers used fluoxetine, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor and one of the most widely used antidepressants, to stimulate the production of new neurons from L1-INP cells.

Investigators determined a large percentage of these newly generated neurons were inhibitory GABAergic interneurons, and their generation coincided with a reduction in cell death following ischemia.

Researchers believe the finding shows that fluoxetine has a neuroprotective response and that the purposeful creation of new nerve cells in the brain is prevention/treatment option for neurodegenerative diseases and psychiatric disorders.

The study is published online in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology.

Source: National Institute for Physiological Sciences

Prozac May Be Involved in Creating New Brain Cells

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2018). Prozac May Be Involved in Creating New Brain Cells. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 16, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
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