Identification and distribution of 5-HT3 recognition sites in the rat gastrointestinal tract


Postgraduate Studies in Pharmacology, School of Pharmacy, University of Bradford, Bradford, West Yorkshire, BD7 1DP


  • 1Tritiated derivatives of the potent and selective 5-HT3 receptor antagonists GR65630 and LY278584 were used to identify 5-HT3 recognition sites in the rat gastrointestinal tract.
  • 2Binding studies were carried out in homogenates of the rat oesophagus, the cardia, fundus, body and antrum of the stomach, regions of the small intestine, caecum and large intestine. The specific binding of a single concentration of GR65630 (0.5 nm) defined by granisetron (10 μm) in these areas indicated that the density of 5-HT3 recognition sites varied from 2.4 ± 1.0 to 10.1 ± 1.0 fmol mg−1 protein.
  • 3Saturable binding of [3H]-GR65630 could only be demonstrated in the terminal regions of the small intestine (Bmax in the range of 13.83 ± 4.54–21.19 ± 0.89 fmol mg−1 protein; mean ± s.e.mean) and of high affinity (Kd in the range of 0.42 ± 0.18–0.79 ± 0.24 nm). Use of [3H]-LY278584 revealed a similar binding density (Bmax 19.54 ± 0.26 fmol mg−1 protein) and affinity (Kd 1.04 ± 0.07 nm) in the terminal small intestine.
  • 4Binding of [3H]-GR65630 and [3H]-LY278584 to the terminal region of the small intestine was inhibited by 5-HT3 receptor ligands ondansetron and S-zacopride (and 5-hydroxytryptamine), but not by 5-HT1, 5-HT2, catecholamine, γ-aminobutyric acid and opioid receptor ligands.
  • 5These data demonstrate that there are regional variations in the density of 5-HT3 recognition sites within the rat gastrointestinal tract. Such data are relevant to the potential use of 5-HT3 receptor ligands to modify secretory and contraction responses in the gastrointestinal system.