Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2008 Aug;12 Suppl 1:63-7.
5HT system in the gut: roles in the regulation of visceral sensitivity and motor functions.
5-Hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) is a major transmitter molecule within the gastrointestinal tract. It is contained in enterochromaffin (EC) cells, which form part of the epithelial lining of the gut and in enteric neurones in the submucosal and myenteric plexuses. 5-HT is present in murine mucosal mast cells in the lamina propria and some studies have suggested that human mast cells may also contain 5-HT especially in conditions associated with mastocytosis. The strategic positioning of the enteric and extrinsic sensory innervation in close proximity to these sources of 5-HT, in conjunction with their demonstrated sensitivity to this mediator, suggests the involvement of 5-HT in the transduction of visceral stimuli and reflex responses affecting motor and secretory function. Under physiological conditions, the release of 5-HT from these storage sites may result in the orchestration of reflexes responsible for transit of material along the bowel at a rate that is appropriate for digestion and absorption of nutrients. However, in the pathophysiological state, 5-HT acting together with other inflammatory mediators may cause inappropriate intestinal secretomotor activity and/or initiate sensations such as nausea or discomfort/pain. Current evidence suggests that the bioavailability of 5-HT within the gut wall is altered in a number of post-inflammatory models of gut dysfunction with increased numbers of EC cells and mast cells with increased 5-HT content in proximity to sensory nerve endings, and decreased serotonin reuptake mechanisms. Changes may also occur in the sensory innervation or pathways within the central nervous system. These processes may contribute to pain mechanisms in the irritable bowel syndrome, in which visceral hypersensitivity is a predominant feature and may also contribute to motor dysfunction leading to altered bowel habit.
PMID: 18924445 [PubMed - in process]
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