"The effect of the liberation of serotonin was clear. The rats we stimulated with serotonin revealed a significant decrease in sensibility to pain, when we compared them to the rats in the control group," Xinhua quoted Guillaume Dugue, one of the researchers, as saying in a press release.

The results found by the scientists, led by Champalimaud Foundation Neuroscience Programme Director Zachary Mainen, were published in the scientific magazine Plos One on Friday.

"There is still yet a lot of work to do to understand the effects of serotonin, but one day methods like this will be used to control situations like chronic pain," Mainen told Portuguese Lusa news agency.

He added that the team had taken another step to understanding the physiological role of this molecule.

Champalimaud Foundation is a biomedical research unit based in Portuguese capital Lisbon.

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