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Serotonin (5-HT) is involved in various aspects of hippocampal development, although the specific roles of 5-HT receptors are poorly understood. We investigated the roles of 5-HT receptors in the dendrite formation of hippocampal neurons. We focused on the 5-HT4 receptor, which is coupled with Gs protein, and compared the effects with those of the Gi-coupled 5-HT1A receptor. Neurons from rat hippocampi at embryonic day 18 were dissociated and treated for 4 days with the 5-HT4 receptor agonist BIMU8 or the 5-HT1A receptor agonist 8-OH DPAT. The formation of primary dendrites and dendrite branching were promoted by BIMU8, whereas the dendrite branching was inhibited by 8-OH DPAT. BIMU8-induced promotion of dendrite formation was neutralized by concomitant treatment with the 5-HT4 receptor antagonist, confirming the specific actions of the 5-HT4 receptor. We then examined the signaling mechanisms underlying the actions of the 5-HT4 receptor by using a protein kinase A (PKA) inhibitor. The BIMU8-induced promotion of dendrite formation was reversed partially by the PKA inhibitor, suggesting involvement of PKA signaling downstream of the 5-HT4 receptor. Finally, we examined the contribution of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) to the promotion of dendrite formation by BIMU8. Quantitative RT-PCR analysis showed that BIMU8 increased the BDNF mRNA expression and that treatment of cultured neurons with the TrkB antagonist reversed the BIMU8-induced increase in dendrite formation. In summary, the present study suggests a novel role for the 5-HT4 receptor in facilitation of dendrite formation in which intracellular signaling of PKA and the BDNF-TrkB system may be involved. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Naoki Kozono, Akiko Ohtani, Takashi Shiga. Roles of the serotonin 5-HT4 receptor in dendrite formation of the rat hippocampal neurons in vitro. Brain research. 2017 Jan 15;1655:114-121

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PMID: 27894797

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