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Expression and Function of Serotonin 2A and 2B Receptors in the Mammalian Respiratory Network

Public Library of Science
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0021395
  • Research Article
  • Biology
  • Anatomy And Physiology
  • Neurological System
  • Neuroanatomy
  • Respiratory System
  • Respiratory Physiology
  • Molecular Cell Biology
  • Signal Transduction
  • Signaling Pathways
  • Calcium-Mediated Signal Transduction
  • Biology


Neurons of the respiratory network in the lower brainstem express a variety of serotonin receptors (5-HTRs) that act primarily through adenylyl cyclase. However, there is one receptor family including 5-HT2A, 5-HT2B, and 5-HT2C receptors that are directed towards protein kinase C (PKC). In contrast to 5-HT2ARs, expression and function of 5-HT2BRs within the respiratory network are still unclear. 5-HT2BR utilizes a Gq-mediated signaling cascade involving calcium and leading to activation of phospholipase C and IP3/DAG pathways. Based on previous studies, this signal pathway appears to mediate excitatory actions on respiration. In the present study, we analyzed receptor expression in pontine and medullary regions of the respiratory network both at the transcriptional and translational level using quantitative RT-PCR and self-made as well as commercially available antibodies, respectively. In addition we measured effects of selective agonists and antagonists for 5-HT2ARs and 5-HT2BRs given intra-arterially on phrenic nerve discharges in juvenile rats using the perfused brainstem preparation. The drugs caused significant changes in discharge activity. Co-administration of both agonists revealed a dominance of the 5-HT2BR. Given the nature of the signaling pathways, we investigated whether intracellular calcium may explain effects observed in the respiratory network. Taken together, the results of this study suggest a significant role of both receptors in respiratory network modulation.

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