Signal transduction pathways for serotonin as an intestinal secretagogue

Comp Biochem Physiol A Physiol. 1997 Oct;118(2):283-90. doi: 10.1016/s0300-9629(97)00085-6.


This review presents a signal transduction pathways for serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT) as an intestinal secretagogue and some recently published related findings. 5-HT is a secretagogue in the small and large intestine of all studied species including pig and man. 5-HT mediates intestinal secretion through activation of at least the epithelial 5-HT2, and neuronal 5-HT3, and 5-HT4 receptors in the submucosal plexus, including a reflex arc. 5-HT activates both a cholinergic and a non-cholinergic pathway in its secretory response. Intracellular mediators include at least eicosanoids (prostaglandin E2), calcium, phosphoinositols (1,4,5-inositol trisphosphate) and maybe nitric oxide and cyclic nucleotides. Pig small intestine appears to be an appropriate model for the human small intestine with respect to the signal transduction pathways for 5-HT as an intestinal secretagogue. Species and segmental differences in the signal transduction pathways for 5-HT as an intestinal secretagogues are discussed together with related news on 5-HT receptors, 5-HT antagonists in clinical use, the enteric nervous system, and intracellular mediators.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Enteric Nervous System / physiology
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism*
  • Secretory Rate / drug effects
  • Serotonin / metabolism*
  • Serotonin Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Serotonin Receptor Agonists / pharmacology*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*


  • Serotonin Antagonists
  • Serotonin Receptor Agonists
  • Serotonin