Calcium changes induced by presynaptic 5-hydroxytryptamine-3 serotonin receptors on isolated terminals from various regions of the rat brain

Neuroscience. 1999;91(1):107-17. doi: 10.1016/s0306-4522(98)00520-x.


The serotonin 5-hydroxytryptamine-3 receptor is a ligand-gated ion channel that is distributed widely in the nervous system. Within the CNS, a significant portion of the 5-hydroxytryptamine-3 receptors appears to be present on presynaptic nerve terminals and, using an imaging approach, it was shown previously that presynaptic 5-hydroxytryptamine-3 receptors on individual isolated nerve terminals (synaptosomes) from rat corpus striatum display a distinctive set of properties-slow onset, little desensitization and high apparent permeability for Ca2+-when compared to those observed for 5-hydroxytryptamine-3 receptors localized at postsynaptic sites on neuronal cell bodies. To consider whether their characteristic nature is a common feature of presynaptic 5-hydroxytryptamine-3 receptors across the brain, we used confocal microscopy to measure changes in intracellular Ca2+ concentration resulting from 5-hydroxytryptamine-3 agonist-induced responses in synaptosomes from representative rat brain regions, ranging in expression of overall levels of 5-hydroxytryptamine-3 receptors from relatively low (cerebellum) to intermediate (corpus striatum and hippocampus) to high (amygdala). Application of 100 nM m-chlorophenyl biguanide, a specific 5-hydroxytryptamine-3 receptor agonist, induced changes in relative intracellular Ca2+ concentration in subsets of synaptosomes from the corpus striatum (approximately 6% of total), hippocampus (approximately 3% of total), amygdala (approximately 30% of total) and cerebellum (approximately 32% of total). In order to assure the viability of the synaptosomes that did not respond to 5-hydroxytryptamine-3 agonist stimulation, KCl (45 mM) was subsequently added to depolarize the same population of synaptosomes, and increases in intracellular Ca2+ concentration were then seen in 80-90% of the synaptosomes from all four regions. The kinetics of the intra synaptosomal Ca2+ changes produced by K+-evoked depolarization were similar in all regions, showing a rapid rise to a peak followed by an apparent plateau phase. In contrast, the changes in intracellular Ca2+ concentration evoked by m-chlorophenyl biguanide displayed substantially slower kinetics, similar to previous findings, but which varied among responding synaptosomes from one region to another. In particular, m-chlorophenyl biguanide-induced changes were notably slower in synaptosomes from the amygdala (rise time constant, tau = 25 s), when compared to responses in synaptosomes from other regions (striatum, tau = 12 s; hippocampus, tau= 9.6 s; cerebellum, tau = 7 s). To independently demonstrate the presence of 5-hydroxytryptamine-3 receptors on nerve terminals in the various regions using a molecular approach, we double-immunostained the synaptosomes for the 5-hydroxytryptamine-3 receptor and the synaptic vesicle protein synaptophysin, using, respectively, a polyclonal antibody raised against an N-terminal peptide of the 5-hydroxytryptamine-3 receptor and a monoclonal anti-synaptophysin antibody, and observed 5-hydroxytryptamine-3 receptors in varying subsets of the synaptosomes from each region, providing direct support for the results obtained in our functional experiments. These results suggest that the distinctive properties of presynaptic 5-hydroxytryptamine-3 receptors are found throughout the brain, with evident differences in the kinetics of the responses to agonist stimulation observed across the brain regions studied. As expected, the proportion of the synaptosomal population that responded on application of 5-hydroxytryptamine-3 agonist varied in preparations from one region to another; however, the presence of a relatively high proportion of presynaptic 5-hydroxytryptamine-3 receptors in the cerebellum contrasts with previous binding studies demonstrating a relatively low overall density of 5-hydroxytryptamine-3 receptors in this region. We hypothesize that presynaptic 5-hydroxytryptamine-3 receptors present on nerve terminals regulate the

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Animals
  • Brain / cytology
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Calcium / physiology*
  • Calcium Channel Blockers / pharmacology
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Kinetics
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Nerve Endings / drug effects
  • Nerve Endings / physiology*
  • Potassium / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptors, Presynaptic / drug effects
  • Receptors, Presynaptic / physiology*
  • Receptors, Serotonin / drug effects
  • Receptors, Serotonin / physiology*
  • Receptors, Serotonin, 5-HT3
  • Serotonin Receptor Agonists / pharmacology
  • Synaptosomes / drug effects
  • Synaptosomes / physiology


  • Calcium Channel Blockers
  • Receptors, Presynaptic
  • Receptors, Serotonin
  • Receptors, Serotonin, 5-HT3
  • Serotonin Receptor Agonists
  • Potassium
  • Calcium