Effect of serotonin treatment on intestinal transport in the rabbit

M. Donowitz, A. N. Charney, M. Heffernan

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75 Scopus citations


The hormone serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine) has been implicated as the cause of the diarrhea seen in many patients with the carcinoid syndrome. To determine whether serotonin is an intestinal secretagogue, the effect of serotonin on intestinal water and electrolyte transport was evaluated in the rabbit. Two weeks of daily subcutaneous injection of serotonin suspended in oil resulted in a blood serotonin level elevated to twice that of controls. Intestinal transport was studied in vivo by a perfusion technique. Serotonin treatment resulted in ileal secretion and decreased midjejunal absorption of water and electrolytes but did not effect water absorption in the proximal jejunum or colon. Intestinal absorption of D-glucose and the amino acid L-tryptophan and glucose-dependent water and electrolyte absorption were normal in serotonin-treated animals. Serotonin-induced ileal secretion was reversed by methysergide, a peripheral antagonist of serotonin action. No alterations in intestinal histology or permeability occurred in serotonin-treated animals. Serotonin-induced intestinal secretion was not associated with alterations in the activities of intestinal mucosal adenylate cyclase, cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterase, or Na-K-ATPase.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E85-E94
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1977
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology (medical)


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