Brain serotonin and blood pressure regulation: studies using in vivo electrochemistry and direct tissue assay

Life Sci. 1985 Nov 11;37(19):1783-93. doi: 10.1016/0024-3205(85)90220-6.


Hypotensive responses to tryptophan and 5-hydroxytryptophan infusions were studied in normotensive male Sprague-Dawley rats. Results showed that 5-hydroxytryptophan but not tryptophan lowered pressure in a dose dependent way in direct relation to the production of brain serotonin and 5-HIAA. Intrinsic release of serotonin from brain was also studied during periods of induced hypertension and hypotension. Brain monoamine responses to blood pressure changes induced by intravenous phenylephrine and nitroprusside were measured in dorsal raphe nucleus and nucleus tractus solitarius by in vivo electrochemistry. Results showed that 5-HIAA was increased during drug induced hypertension and during reflex hypertension which followed a period of hypotension. These changes were blocked by sinoaortic denervation indicating that these central serotonergic neurons are responding to increased pressure sensed by baroreceptors. Therefore, serotonin has a role in blood pressure regulation as a pharmacologic agent and as a neurotransmitter in homeostatic control of pressure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • 5-Hydroxytryptophan / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Blood Pressure* / drug effects
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Electrochemistry
  • Fusaric Acid / pharmacology
  • Hydroxyindoleacetic Acid / biosynthesis
  • Male
  • Pargyline / pharmacology
  • Phenylephrine / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Serotonin / biosynthesis*
  • Tryptophan / pharmacology


  • Phenylephrine
  • Serotonin
  • Hydroxyindoleacetic Acid
  • Tryptophan
  • Pargyline
  • 5-Hydroxytryptophan
  • Fusaric Acid