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What are our Plein Center faculty researching?: Joanne Wang

Joanne Wang, Professor of PharmaceuticsLearn the latest about the research of Plein Center of Plein Center for Geriatric Pharmacy faculty member, Joanne Wang, Professor in the Department of Pharmaceutics. 

Joanne, along with a postdoctoral trainee previously supported by a Plein Endowed Research grant, published a paper demonstrating a direct effect of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) use on estrogen synthesis and further identified estrogen as a critical factor that contributes to depression treatment-induced metabolic abnormalities as well as other adverse effects of SSRIs.

Joanne commented, “SSRIs are commonly used antidepressants. Long-term use of SSRIs is associated with weight gain and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, but the causes underlying these associations are unknown.”

In a paper published in Scientific Reports, Dr. Wang’s team described a novel mechanism that explains this and other side effects associated with SSRI use. Using mice with targeted deletion of the serotonin transporter (SERT) gene, they showed that SERT deletion led to abnormal fat accumulation, insulin resistance, and glucose intolerance through suppressing aromatase (Cyp19a1) and estrogen production.”

Gaining a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms of SSRI-related metabolic abnormalities could lead to improved drug development.

Dr. Wang presented this work at the Keystone Symposia on Frontiers of Serotonin beyond the Brain in Park City, Utah, in November 2017.


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