Serotonin may stimulate granule cell proliferation in the adult hippocampus, as observed in rats grafted with foetal raphe neurons

Eur J Neurosci. 2000 Jan;12(1):391-6. doi: 10.1046/j.1460-9568.2000.00932.x.


The long-term effects of hippocampal serotonergic denervation and reinnervation by foetal raphe tissue were examined in the dentate gyrus where neurons are continously born in the adult. Complete lesion of serotonin neurons following injections of 5, 7-dihydroxytryptamine in the dorsal and medial raphe nuclei produced long-term decreases in the number of newly generated granule cells identified with 5-Bromo-2'-deoxyuridine (BrdU) and the polysialylated form of neural cell adhesion molecule (PSA-NCAM) immunostaining, as observed in 2-month-survival rats. The raphe grafts, but not the control grafts of embryonic spinal tissue, reversed the postlesion-induced decreases in the density of BrdU- and PSA-NCAM-labelled cells detected in the granule layer. Inhibition of serotonin synthesis in animals with raphe grafts reversed back to lesion-induced changes in granule cell proliferation. Furthermore, extensive serotonergic reinnervation of the dentate gyrus in the area proximal to the raphe graft could be associated with supranormal density of BrdU-labelled cells. These results indicate that serotonin may be considered a positive regulatory factor of adult granule cell proliferation. Finally, the lack of effect of embryonic nonserotonergic tissue grafted to serotonin-deprived rats suggests that neurotrophic factors may not be involved in the effects of serotonin on adult neurogenesis.

MeSH terms

  • 5,7-Dihydroxytryptamine / toxicity
  • Animals
  • Brain Tissue Transplantation / physiology*
  • Cell Division
  • Denervation
  • Female
  • Fetal Tissue Transplantation / physiology*
  • Hippocampus / cytology
  • Hippocampus / physiology*
  • Mesencephalon / physiology
  • Mesencephalon / transplantation
  • Neural Cell Adhesion Molecule L1*
  • Neural Cell Adhesion Molecules / analysis
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Raphe Nuclei / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Serotonin / physiology*
  • Sialic Acids / analysis
  • Spinal Cord / physiology
  • Spinal Cord / transplantation


  • Neural Cell Adhesion Molecule L1
  • Neural Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • Sialic Acids
  • polysialyl neural cell adhesion molecule
  • 5,7-Dihydroxytryptamine
  • Serotonin