, Volume 28, Issue 11, pp 747-758

5-HT receptors in mammalian brain: receptor autoradiography andin situ hybridization studies of new ligands and newly identified receptors

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In recent years the family of mammalian serotonin receptors has grown to 14 different subtypes, characterized by pharmacological or molecular biological techniques. In parallel, new ligand molecules have been developed for their study. However, selective ligands are not yet available to study every one of them. In addition the degree of selectivity of ligands, hitherto regarded as specific for a particular receptor subtype has been called in question by their affinities for newly discovered receptors. Consequently, a re-evaluation of past ligand receptor autoradiography work is necessary in view of the redefined receptor profiles of these ligands, and the introduction of newly developed ligands. A further difficulty for the characterization of these receptors is the absence of selective antagonist ligands which, for some of the subtypes, have become available only recently. In an attempt to overcome these difficulties we have combinedin situ hybridization histochemistry and receptor ligand autoradiography to study the regional and cellular localization of several serotonin receptors in the rodent brain. In addition, for some receptors, we have expanded these studies to primates, including humans.

We have found that the distribution of 5-HT1A receptors in monkey brain, labelled with the agonist3H-8-OH-DPAT and the antagonist3H-WAY 100635 was very similar at the levels examined, and corresponded well with that observed for the cells containing mRNA coding for this receptor, confirming the somatodendritic localization of 5-HT1A receptors in monkey brain. The labelling conditions to visualize 5-HT1F receptors in guinea pig brain, namely3H-sumatriptan in the presence of 10−8 m 5-CT to block 5-HT1D receptors, are suitable for visualizing this receptor, since the results agreed with those observed byin situ hybridization. By using3H-ketanserin and3H-mesulergine in parallel within situ hybridization using the corresponding oligonucleotides, we were able to show that these ligands label respectively 5-HT2A and 5-HT2C binding sites in monkey brain. 5-HT4 receptors were localized in the brain of several species including humans by using125I-SB 207710.In situ hybridization experiments performed in guinea pig confirmed that 5-HT4 receptors are localized on the terminals of the striatopallidal and striatonigral projections. 5-HT7 binding sites were labelled in rat and guinea pig brains by incubating with3H-5-CT in the presence of 100 μm WAY 100135 and 250 μm GR 127935; the distribution obtained in both species agreed, in general, with that of the corresponding mRNA coding for them. These results are an illustration of the understanding of our current knowledge of the chemical neuroanatomy of the mammalian 5-HT system.