Role of serotonin in the hepato-gastroIntestinal tract: an old molecule for new perspectives
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- Lesurtel, M., Soll, C., Graf, R. et al. Cell. Mol. Life Sci. (2008) 65: 940. doi:10.1007/s00018-007-7377-3
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Beside its role as a neurotransmitter in the central nervous system, serotonin appears to be a central physiologic mediator of many gastrointestinal (GI) functions and a mediator of the brain-gut connection. By acting directly and via modulation of the enteric nervous system, serotonin has numerous effects on the GI tract. The main gut disturbances in which serotonin is involved are acute chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, carcinoid syndrome and irritable bowel syndrome. Serotonin also has mitogenic properties. Platelet-derived serotonin is involved in liver regeneration after partial hepatectomy. In diseased liver, serotonin may play a crucial role in the progression of hepatic fibrosis and the pathogenesis of steatohepatitis. Better understanding of the role of the serotonin receptor subtypes and serotonin mechanisms of action in the liver and gut may open new therapeutic strategies in hepato-gastrointestinal diseases.