Intraregional variation in expression of serotonin transporter messenger rna by 5-hydroxytryptamine neurons

M. Rattray, G. J. Michael, J. Lee, G. Wotherspoon, C. Bendotti, J. V. Priestley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The distribution of the messenger RNA encoding the 54-hydroxytryptamine transporter was investigated in rat brain. 5-Hydroxytryptamine transporter messenger RNA was found exclusively in the B1-B9 cell groups containing the cell bodies of 5-hydroxytryptamine neurons. Combined in situ hybridization and 5-hydroxytryptamine immunocytochemistry demonstrated 5-hydroxytryptamine transporter gene expression in the majority of and exclusively in 5- hydroxytryptamine neurons. Cells differed in their levels of expression of 5- hydroxytryptamine transporter messenger RNA and 5-hydroxytryptamine immunofluorescence, but with a tight correlation between the two parameters. Image analysis of cells from B7, the dorsal raphe nucleus, and B8, the median raphe nucleus, revealed significant differences between groups in the mean cellular level of 5-hydroxytryptamine transporter gene expression. Cells in the ventromedial subdivision of B7 displayed higher levels of expression than cells in B8 or cells in the lateral wings of B7. There was also heterogeneity in the distribution of the cellular levels of expression for two other genes expressed by 5-hydroxytryptamine neurons: l-aromatic amino acid decarboxylase messenger RNA and tryptophan hydroxylase messenger RNA. However, the relative levels of expression of these two genes within the four regions studied differed from that of 5-hydroxytryptamine transporter messenger RNA. These results indicate intraregional differences between 5-hydroxytryptamine neurons with respect to 5-hydroxytryptamine transporter messenger RNA levels. Such differences may account for the differential sensitivity of 5- hydroxytryptamine neurons to cytotoxins.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-183
Number of pages15
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1999


  • 5-hydroxytryptamine uptake
  • In situ hybridization
  • Neurotoxins
  • Raphe
  • SERT

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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