Serotonin helps brain cells communicate and regulates mood as well as some of the body's most basic functions, including breathing.
Scientists first suspected that an imbalance in seratonin might lead to sudden infant death syndrome in 2006. That's when researchers discovered SIDS babies had abnormalities in their brain stem that led to low levels of serotonin.
Now a new study helps to explain the link. Researchers engineered mice with less serotonin than normal mice. They found the imbalance triggered changes in heart rate and body temperature that led to sudden death.
The study is published in today's edition of the journal "science."