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Brain Res. 1993 May 28;612(1-2):289-98.

5-HT3 receptors in the rat central nervous system are mainly located on nerve fibres and terminals.

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  • 1INSERM U288, Faculté de Médecine Pitié-Salpêtrière, Paris, France.


Autoradiographic and membrane binding studies with [3H](R,S)- or [3H](S)-zacopride were performed in combination with lesions using various neurotoxins in an attempt to identify which neuronal cell types are endowed with 5-HT3 receptors in the rat central nervous system. Lesions of noradrenergic (by DSP-4), dopaminergic (by 6-hydroxydopamine) and serotonergic (by 5,7-dihydroxytryptamine) systems had little effect generally on the density of 5-HT3 receptors labelled with [3H](R,S)- or [3H](S)-zacopride in various regions of the brain and the spinal cord. The only exception was the amygdala where a significant loss (approximately -20%) of 5-HT3 receptors labelled by [3H](R,S)-zacopride was associated with the selective lesion of serotonergic fibres by 5,7-dihydroxytryptamine. Microinjection of kainic or ibotenic acid into the dorsal and ventral hippocampus reduced the density of 5-HT1A receptors labelled with [3H]8-OH-DPAT (approximately -45%) as expected from their known location on intrinsic neuronal cell bodies and/or dendrites. In contrast, the same lesion did not affect 5-HT3 receptors, suggesting their location on fibres 'en passage'. At the spinal level, 5-HT3 receptors were found to exist on primary afferent fibres terminating within the superficial layers of the dorsal horn, as shown by the marked reduction in the local autoradiographic labelling by [3H](S)-zacopride after either dorsal rhizotomy (-81%) or neonatal capsaicin treatment (-72%). These data suggest that 5-HT3 receptors in the central nervous system are generally located presynaptically on nerve terminals or fibres of non-monoaminergic neurones.

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