Send to

Choose Destination
FASEB J. 2000 Dec;14(15):2435-49.

Chemical neuroanatomy of the vesicular amine transporters.

Author information

Department of Molecular Neuroimmunology, Institute of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Philipps University, Marburg, Germany.


Acetylcholine, catecholamines, serotonin, and histamine are classical neurotransmitters. These small molecules also play important roles in the endocrine and immune/inflammatory systems. Serotonin secreted from enterochromaffin cells of the gut epithelium regulates gut motility; histamine secreted from basophils and mast cells is a major regulator of vascular permeability and skin inflammatory responses; epinephrine is a classical hormone released from the adrenal medulla. Each of these molecules is released from neural, endocrine, or immune/inflammatory cells only in response to specific physiological stimuli. Regulated secretion is possible because amines are stored in secretory vesicles and released via a stimulus-dependent exocytotic event. Amine storage-at concentrations orders of magnitude higher than in the cytoplasm-is accomplished in turn by specific secretory vesicle transporters that recognize the amines and move them from the cytosol into the vesicle. Immunohistochemical visualization of specific vesicular amine transporters (VATs) in neuronal, endocrine, and inflammatory cells provides important new information about how amine-handling cell phenotypes arise during development and how vesicular transport is regulated during homeostatic response events. Comparison of the chemical neuroanatomy of VATs and amine biosynthetic enzymes has also revealed cell groups that express vesicular transporters but not enzymes for monoamine synthesis, and vice versa: their function and regulation is a new topic of investigation in mammalian neurobiology. The chemical neuroanatomy of the vesicular amine transporters is reviewed here. These and similar data emerging from the study of the localization of the recently characterized vesicular inhibitory and excitatory amino acid transporters will contribute to understanding chemically coded synaptic circuitry in the brain, and amine-handling neuroendocrine and immune/inflammatory cell regulation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon
Loading ...
Support Center