• In situ hybridization;
  • 5-hydroxytryptamine;
  • central nervous system;
  • riboprobe


Serotonin (5-HT) mediates its effects on neurons in the central nervous system through a number of different receptor types. To gain better insight as to the localization of 5-HT responsive cells, the distribution of cells expressing mRNAs encoding the three 5-HT receptor subtypes 1A,1C, and 2 was examined in rat brain with in situ hybridization using cRNA probes. 5-HT1A receptor mRNA labeling was most pronounced in the olfactory bulb, anterior hippocampal rudiment, septum, hippocampus (dentate gyrus and layers CAI-3), entorhinal cortex, interpeduncular nucleus, and medullary raphe nuclei. 5-HT 1C receptor mRNA labeling was the most abundant and widespread of the three 5-HT receptor subtypes examined. Hybridization signal was denset in the choroid plexus, anterior olfactory nucleus, olfactory tubercle piriform cortex, septum, subiculum, entorhinal cortex, claustrum, accumbens nuclues, striatum, lateral amygdala, paratenial and paracentral thalamic nuclei, subthalamic nucleus, substantia nigra, and reticular cell groups. 5-HT2 receptor mRNA was localized to the olfactory bulb, anteriorhippocampal rudiment, frontal cortex, piriform cortex, entorhinal cortex, claustrum, pontine nuclei, and cranial nerve motor nuclei including the oculomotor, trigeminal motor, facial, dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus, and hypoglossal nuclei. The distributions of mRNAs for the three different 5-HT receptor subtypes overlap with regions that bind various 5-HT receptor-selective ligands and are present in nearly all areas known to receive serotonergic innervation. The results of this study demonstrate that nervous which express these 5-HT receptor subtypes are very widespread in the central nervous system, yet possess unique distributions with in the rat brain. Moreover, previously unreported regions of 5-HT receptor subtype expression were observed, particulary with the 5-HT receptor riboprobe in the brainstem. Finally, several brain areas contain multiple 5-HT receptor subtype mRNAs, which leads to the possibility that individual cells may express more than one 5-HT receptor subtype. © 1995 Willy-Liss, Inc.