Actions of the 5-HT4 serotonergic receptor partial agonist, tegaserod, were investigated on mucosal secretion in the guinea-pig and human small intestine and on electrophysiological behaviour of secretomotor neurons in the guinea-pig small intestinal submucosal plexus. Expression of 5-HT 4 receptor protein and immunohistochemical localization of the 5-HT4 receptor in the submucosal plexus in relation to expression and localization of choline acetyltransferase and the vesicular acetylcholine (ACh) transporter were determined for the enteric nervous system of human and guinea-pig small intestine. Immunoreactivity for the 5-HT4 receptor was expressed as ring-like fluorescence surrounding the perimeter of the neuronal cell bodies and co-localized with the vesicular ACh transporter. Exposure of mucosal/submucosal preparations to tegaserod in Ussing chambers evoked increases in mucosal secretion reflected by stimulation of short-circuit current. Stimulation of secretion had a relative high EC50 of 28.1 ± 1.3 μmol L-1, was resistant to neural blockade and appeared to be a direct action on the secretory epithelium. Tegaserod acted at presynaptic 5-HT4 receptors to facilitate the release of ACh at nicotinic synapses on secretomotor neurons in the submucosal plexus. The 5-HT2B receptor subtype was not involved in actions at nicotinic synapses or stimulation of secretion.
- 5-HT serotonergic receptors
- Enteric nervous system