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Brain Res. 2006 Jun 6;1093(1):105-15. Epub 2006 May 18.

Tachyphylaxis to 5-HT3-receptor-mediated activation of vagal afferents is prevented by co-activation of 5-HT2 receptors.

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Department of Pharmacology, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA.


Functional studies have provided evidence that 5-HT(3) ion-channel receptors (5-HT(3)Rs) on vagal cardiopulmonary afferents mediating the Bezold-Jarisch reflex (BJR) rapidly desensitize upon repeated exposure to selective 5-HT(3)R agonists. G-protein-coupled 5-HT(2) receptors (5-HT(2)Rs) also exist on vagal afferents, although activation of these receptors does not elicit the BJR. However, there is in vivo evidence that 5-HT(2)Rs may regulate the activity of 5-HT(3)Rs. The aim of this study was to determine whether co-activation of 5-HT(2)Rs prevents desensitization of 5-HT(3)Rs mediating the BJR in conscious rats. The principal findings were that (1) tachyphylaxis rapidly developed to the BJR-mediated hemodynamic responses elicited by successive injections of 5-HT(3)R agonists and (2) co-injection of the selective 5-HT(2)R agonist, alpha-methyl-5-HT, prevented tachyphylaxis to the BJR-mediated hemodynamic responses elicited by the 5-HT(3)R agonists. Additional studies provided evidence that (1) tachyphylaxis to the 5-HT(3)R agonists was not due to impairment of the central or efferent processing of the BJR, and (2) the pressor responses elicited by alpha-methyl-5-HT were not responsible for preventing tachyphylaxis to the BJR reflex responses elicited by 5-HT(3)R agonists. These results suggest that the loss of response to 5-HT(3)R agonists is due to desensitization of 5-HT(3)Rs on vagal afferents mediating the BJR and that co-activation of 5-HT(2)Rs prevents the desensitization of these 5-HT(3)Rs.

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