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Curr Opin Endocrinol Diabetes Obes. 2013 Feb;20(1):14-21. doi: 10.1097/MED.0b013e32835bc703.

5-Hydroxytryptamine (serotonin) in the gastrointestinal tract.

Author information

1
Department of Pathology and Cell Biology, Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, New York, USA. mdg4@columbia.edu

Abstract

PURPOSE OF REVIEW:

Although the gut contains most of the body's 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT), many of its most important functions have recently been discovered. This review summarizes and directs attention to this new burst of knowledge.

RECENT FINDINGS:

Enteroendocrine cells have classically been regarded as pressure sensors, which secrete 5-HT to initiate peristaltic reflexes; nevertheless, recent data obtained from studies of mice that selectively lack 5-HT either in enterochromaffin cells (deletion of tryptophan hydroxylase 1 knockout; TPH1KO) or neurons (TPH2KO) imply that neuronal 5-HT is more important for constitutive gastrointestinal transit than that of enteroendocrine cells. The enteric nervous system of TPH2KO mice, however, also lacks a full complement of neurons; therefore, it is not clear whether slow transit in TPH2KO animals is due to their neuronal deficiency or absence of serotonergic neurotransmission. Neuronal 5-HT promotes the growth/maintenance of the mucosa as well as neurogenesis. Enteroendocrine cell derived 5-HT is an essential component of the gastrointestinal inflammatory response; thus, deletion of the serotonin transporter increases, whereas TPH1KO decreases the severity of intestinal inflammation. Enteroendocrine cell derived 5-HT, moreover, is also a hormone, which inhibits osteoblast proliferation and promotes hepatic regeneration.

SUMMARY:

New studies show that enteric 5-HT is a polyfunctional signalling molecule, acting both in developing and mature animals as a neurotransmitter paracrine factor, endocrine hormone and growth factor.

PMID:
23222853
PMCID:
PMC3708472
DOI:
10.1097/MED.0b013e32835bc703
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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