We have isolated a cDNA encoding the 5-HT4S receptor by RT-PCR on poly (A)+ RNA from both human heart and brain. The sequence homology with the rat and mouse 5-HT4 receptors was high: 93.8% of identity in the amino acid sequence. None of the 24 amino acid substitutions observed between rat and human receptors are at positions likely to modify their pharmacology. Comparing the pharmacological properties of six agonists and five antagonists on rat and human 5-HT4S receptors revealed no significant differences. We have analyzed the behavior of renzapride, a full and a partial agonist on mouse colliculi neurons and human heart biological responses respectively. The coupling efficiency of renzapride was two-fold lower than that of 5-HT for the stimulation of 5-HT4S receptors transfected in two different cell lines (LLC-PK1 and COS-7), but increasing the receptor density suppressed the partial agonist effect of renzapride.