Contractile effects of 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) in the equine jejunum circular muscle: functional and immunohistochemical identification of a 5-HT1A-like receptor

Equine Vet J. 2008 Jun;40(4):313-20. doi: 10.2746/042516408X278193.


Reasons for performing study: Prokinetic drugs used to treat gastrointestinal ileus in man have equivocal results in horses. In man, prokinetic drugs have 5-hydroxytryptamine4(5-HT4) receptors as their target, but little is known about the 5-HT-receptor subtypes in the equine small intestine.

Objective: Functional and immunohistochemical identification of the serotonin receptor subtype(s) responsible for the 5-HT induced contractile response in the equine circular jejunum.

Methods: Isometric organ-bath recordings were carried out to assess spontaneous and drug-evoked contractile activity of equine circular jejunum. Histological investigations by immunofluorescence analyses were performed to check for presence and localisation of this functionally identified 5-HT receptor subtype.

Results: Tonic contractions were induced by 5-HT in horse jejunal circular muscle. Tetrodotoxin, atropine and NG-nitro L-arginine did not modify this response. A set of 5-HT receptor subtype selective antagonists excluded interaction with 5-HT1B, 1D, 2A, 3, 4 and 7 receptors. The selective 5-HT1A receptor antagonists WAY 100635 and NAN 190 caused a clear rightward shift of the concentration-response curve to 5-HT. The contractile effect of 5-CT, that can interact with 5-HT1A, 1B, 1D, 5 and 7 receptors was also antagonised by WAY 100635, identifying the targeted 5-HT receptor as a 5-HT1A-like receptor. Immunohistology performed with rabbit polyclonal anti-5-HT1A receptor antibodies confirmed the presence of muscular 5-HT1A receptors in the muscularis mucosae, and both longitudinal and circular smooth muscle layers of the equine jejunum.

Conclusions: Contractile responses in equine jejunal circular smooth muscle induced by 5-HT involves 5-HT1A-like receptors.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Horse Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Horse Diseases / pathology
  • Horses
  • Ileus / drug therapy
  • Ileus / pathology
  • Ileus / veterinary*
  • Immunohistochemistry / veterinary
  • Jejunum
  • Male
  • Muscle Contraction / drug effects*
  • Muscle, Smooth / drug effects
  • Muscle, Smooth / pathology
  • Receptor, Serotonin, 5-HT1A* / isolation & purification
  • Receptor, Serotonin, 5-HT1A* / metabolism
  • Receptor, Serotonin, 5-HT1A* / physiology
  • Serotonin / pharmacology*
  • Serotonin Agents / pharmacology*


  • Serotonin Agents
  • Receptor, Serotonin, 5-HT1A
  • Serotonin