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Brain Res Mol Brain Res. 1998 Oct 30;61(1-2):90-9.

Cultured astrocytes express messenger RNA for multiple serotonin receptor subtypes, without functional coupling of 5-HT1 receptor subtypes to adenylyl cyclase.

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  • 1Biochemistry Department, Imperial College, London SW7 2AZ, UK.


The literature describing the expression of 5-HT receptor subtypes by astrocytes is controversial and incomplete. It is clear that primary cultures of astrocytes express receptors of the 5-HT2 family coupled to phospholipase C and of the 5-HT7 receptor family positively coupled to adenylyl cyclase. Cultured astrocytes have also been reported to express receptors of the 5-HT1 family, although the exact subtypes present are unknown. In the present study we have investigated which of the known rat G-protein coupled 5-HT receptor mRNAs are expressed by cultured astrocytes. Reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) revealed expression of 5-HT1A, 5-HT1B, 5-HT1D, 5-HT1F, 5-HT2A, 5-HT2B, 5-HT2C, 5-HT5B, 5-HT6 and 5-HT7 receptor mRNAs in astrocytes derived from 2-day old rats and cultured for 10-12 days. Messenger RNAs for 5-HT4 and 5-HT5A receptors were not detected. The functional expression of 5-HT1 receptor subtypes was investigated by measuring the ability of 5-HT1 receptor agonists: 8-OH-DPAT (5-HT1A receptors), RU24969 (5-HT1A, 5-HT1B, 5-HT1D, and 5-HT1F receptors) or sumatriptan (5-HT1B, 5-HT1D, and 5-HT1F receptors) to modulate forskolin or isoproterenol stimulated cAMP production. These compounds, at concentrations up to 10 microM, did not significantly attenuate cAMP production. These results indicate that although astrocytes express mRNA for each of the five 5-HT1 receptor subtypes which have been isolated from the rat, these receptors are not coupled to the inhibition of adenylyl cyclase.

Copyright 1998 Elsevier Science B.V.

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