We have investigated the cell-specific effect of serotonin (5-HT) on regenerating neurons within the adult central nervous system of the pond snail, Helisoma trivolvis. In culture, 5-HT arrests outgrowth of buccal neurons B19 but not neurons B5 (Haydon, McCobb, and Kater, 1984). After axotomy, neurons within the Helisoma nervous system typically exhibit profuse regenerative outgrowth. This study, on neurons within the CNS, shows that 5-HT selectively inhibits the outgrowth of specific identified neurons, and also causes significant elevations in intracellular calcium concentrations as measured by the calcium indicator dye, Fura-2. The outgrowth of neurons B19 and C1 was selectively inhibited when ganglia were incubated in 5 × 10−5M 5-HT. The outgrowth of buccal neurons B5, however, was not affected. Moreover, 5-HT caused significant transient elevations of calcium concentrations in neurons B19 over 30 minutes, but neurons B5 did not show any increases in calcium concentrations with the addition of 5-HT. These results suggest that the effect of 5-HT upon outgrowth of regenerating neurons may be due to an increase in the intracellular calcium concentration.