Serotonergic signaling plays a deeply conserved role in improving oocyte quality

Erin Z. Aprison, Svetlana Dzitoyeva, Ilya Ruvinsky*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Declining germline quality is a major cause of reproductive senescence. Potential remedies could be found by studying regulatory pathways that promote germline quality. Several lines of evidence, including a C. elegans male pheromone ascr#10 that counteracts the effects of germline aging in hermaphrodites, suggest that the nervous system plays an important role in regulating germline quality. Inspired by the fact that serotonin mediates ascr#10 signaling, here we show that serotonin reuptake inhibitors recapitulate the effects of ascr#10 on the germline and promote healthy oocyte aging in C. elegans. Surprisingly, we found that pharmacological increase of serotonin signaling stimulates several developmental processes in D. melanogaster, including improved oocyte quality, although underlying mechanisms appear to be different between worms and flies. Our results reveal a plausibly conserved role for serotonin in maintaining germline quality and identify a class of therapeutic interventions using available compounds that could efficiently forestall reproductive aging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)24-30
Number of pages7
JournalDevelopmental Biology
StatePublished - Jul 2023


  • C. elegans
  • D. melanogaster
  • Germline
  • SSRIs
  • Serotonin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology
  • Developmental Biology


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