Direct influence of serotonin on the larval heart of Drosophila melanogaster

J Comp Physiol B. 2006 May;176(4):349-57. doi: 10.1007/s00360-005-0058-3. Epub 2005 Dec 14.


The heart rate (HR) of larval Drosophila is established to be modulated by various neuromodulators. Serotonin (5-HT) showed dose-dependent responses in direct application within semi-intact preparations. At 1 nM, HR decreased by 20% while it increased at 10 nM (10%) and 100 nM (30%). The effects plateaued at 100 nM. The action of 5-HT on the heart was examined with an intact Central Nervous System (CNS) and an ablated CNS. The heart and aorta of dorsal vessel pulsate at different rates at rest and during exposure to 5-HT. Splitting the heart and aorta resulted in a dramatic reduction in pulse rate of both the segments and the addition of 5-HT did not produce regional differences. The split aorta and heart showed a high degree of sensitivity to sham changes of saline but no significant effect to 5-HT. Larvae-fed 5-HT (1 mM) did not show any significant change in HR. Since 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) is known to act as a weak agonist on 5-HT receptors in vertebrates, we tested an exogenous application; however, no significant effect was observed to dosage ranging from 1 nM to 100 microM in larvae with and without an intact CNS. In summary, direct application of 5-HT to the larval heart had significant effects in a dose-dependent manner while MDMA had no effect.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aorta / drug effects
  • Aorta / physiology
  • Central Nervous System / physiology
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drosophila melanogaster / drug effects
  • Drosophila melanogaster / physiology*
  • Heart Rate / drug effects*
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Larva / physiology
  • N-Methyl-3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine / pharmacology*
  • Serotonin / pharmacology*


  • Serotonin
  • N-Methyl-3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine