Interaction of 5-hydroxytryptamine (serotonin) against Aspergillus spp. in vitro

Int J Antimicrob Agents. 2007 Apr;29(4):424-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ijantimicag.2006.12.003. Epub 2007 Feb 2.


This study examined the direct interaction of serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT)) with Aspergillus species. Accumulation of 5-HT in aspergilli was investigated by immunofluorescence staining and laser confocal scanning microscopy. The influence of 5-HT on fungal ergosterol content, cell membrane integrity, fungal growth and hyphal elongation was determined. 5-HT was localised in the cytoplasm of Aspergillus spp., as 5-HT fluorescent signals appeared after 30min at 4 degrees C and in the presence of inhibitors of oxidative phosphorylation. 5-HT treatment of Aspergillus spp. significantly affected ergosterol synthesis, fungal cell membrane integrity and hyphal elongation (P<0.05). 5-HT treatment for 4h resulted in a lag of re-growth (post-antifungal effect). In conclusion, our findings suggest that 5-HT affects hyphal growth and diminishes fungal cell membrane integrity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antifungal Agents / pharmacology*
  • Aspergillus / drug effects*
  • Aspergillus / growth & development
  • Aspergillus / physiology*
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Ergosterol / metabolism
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique, Indirect
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Phosphorylation / drug effects
  • Serotonin / pharmacology*


  • Antifungal Agents
  • Serotonin
  • Ergosterol