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Gastroenterology. 2007 Sep;133(3):897-906. Epub 2007 Jun 20.

Exogenous serotonin regulates proliferation of interstitial cells of Cajal in mouse jejunum through 5-HT2B receptors.

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  • 1Enteric Neuroscience Program, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, Minnesota 55905, USA.



Interstitial cells of Cajal (ICC) are required for normal gastrointestinal motility. Loss of ICC is associated with several motility disorders. The mechanisms modulating ICC survival and proliferation are poorly understood. This study aimed to establish whether 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) plays a role in regulating ICC proliferation.


Expression of 5-HT receptor mRNA was investigated in muscle strips, in purified populations of ICC, and in identified single cells. The effect of 5-HT(2B) receptor ligands on ICC numbers was studied in primary cell cultures. Proliferation of ICC was determined by counting Ki67-positive cells in culture.


Of the 5-HT receptors known to be involved in proliferation, 5-HT(2B) receptor mRNA was detected by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) in jejunal muscle, whereas 5-HT(1A), 5-HT(1D), and 5-HT(2C) receptor mRNAs were not. 5-HT(2B) receptor mRNA was found in single ICC and cells purified by flow cytometry. Exogenous 5-HT (1 micromol/L) increased (66% +/- 9%, P < .005) ICC numbers in culture. The 5-HT(2) receptor antagonist, ritanserin, and the 5-HT(2B) receptor antagonist, SB204741, inhibited the effect of 5-HT. The 5-HT(2B) receptor agonist BW 723C86 induced a concentration-dependent increase in ICC number (50% +/- 6% at 50 nM, P < .04) and increased ICC proliferation (25% +/- 3% vs 19 +/- 1% in controls, P < .03).


These studies establish that 5-HT(2B) receptors are expressed on ICC. Exogenous 5-HT regulates ICC numbers through 5-HT(2B) receptors in part by increasing ICC proliferation. The 5-HT(2B) receptor may serve as a novel pathway to regulate ICC numbers.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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