Serotonergic regulation of type II corticosteroid receptor binding in hippocampal cell cultures: evidence for the importance of serotonin-induced changes in cAMP levels

Neuroscience. 1992;48(3):631-9. doi: 10.1016/0306-4522(92)90407-s.


The development of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal response to stress is profoundly altered by environmental events. One target for environmental regulation within the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis is the hippocampal type II corticosteroid (or glucocorticoid) receptor system, which mediates the negative-feedback effects of glucocorticoids on hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal activity. Thus, adult rats handled early in life show increased hippocampal type II corticosteroid receptor density and increased sensitivity to the inhibitory effects of circulating glucocorticoids on post-stress hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal activity. Both effects persist throughout life. The effects of handling on type II corticosteroid receptor development are, at least in part, mediated by changes in hippocampal 5-hydroxytryptamine turnover. Moreover, 5-hydroxytryptamine can regulate type II corticosteroid receptor density in cultured hippocampal cells, providing a paradigm for examining the neurochemical mechanisms by which environmental stimuli might regulate neural differentiation. In the present studies, we examined the intracellular mechanisms underlying the effects of 5-hydroxytryptamine on type II corticosteroid receptors ([3H]RU 28362 binding) in hippocampal cell cultures. cAMP, but not cGMP, levels in cultured hippocampal cells were significantly increased by the addition of 5-hydroxytryptamine to the medium. The cAMP response to 5-hydroxytryptamine was biphasic: an initial increase in cAMP levels occurred in response to nanomolar 5-hydroxytryptamine concentrations (EC50 = 7.2 nM), while a second increase was apparent at low micromolar concentrations. 5-Hydroxytryptamine also increased [3H]RU 28362 binding (EC50 = 4.5 nM) with a maximal effect at a concentration of 10 nM. There was no further increase in [3H]RU 28362 binding even with higher, micromolar concentrations of 5-hydroxytryptamine.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 8-Bromo Cyclic Adenosine Monophosphate / pharmacology
  • Amphetamines / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cyclic AMP / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Hippocampus / drug effects
  • Hippocampus / metabolism*
  • Mineralocorticoid Receptor Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Piperazines / pharmacology
  • Pregnancy
  • Rats
  • Receptors, Glucocorticoid / drug effects
  • Receptors, Glucocorticoid / metabolism*
  • Second Messenger Systems / drug effects
  • Serotonin / physiology*
  • Serotonin Antagonists
  • Spironolactone / analogs & derivatives
  • Spironolactone / pharmacology


  • Amphetamines
  • Mineralocorticoid Receptor Antagonists
  • Piperazines
  • Receptors, Glucocorticoid
  • Serotonin Antagonists
  • 8-Bromo Cyclic Adenosine Monophosphate
  • 1-(3-trifluoromethylphenyl)piperazine
  • Spironolactone
  • Serotonin
  • RU 28318
  • Cyclic AMP
  • 4-iodo-2,5-dimethoxyphenylisopropylamine