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Selective inhibition of mucosal serotonin as treatment for IBD?
  1. Alon D Levin,
  2. Gijs R van den Brink
  1. Department of Gastroenterology & Hepatology and the Tytgat, Institute for Liver & Intestinal Research, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to Dr Gijs R van den Brink, Room C2-115, Department of Gastroenterology & Hepatology, Academic Medical Center, Meibergdreef 9, Amsterdam 1105 BZ, The Netherlands; g.r.vandenbrink{at}

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Serotonin (5-HT) has extensively been studied in the central and enteric nervous system. Altered levels of 5-HT play a role in many central nervous system (CNS) disorders and can be treated with specific 5-HT receptor agonists and antagonists. Interestingly, 95% of the bodies 5-HT is located outside central neuronal regions and in the intestine. The discovery of 5-HT secreting cells in the intestinal epithelium has resulted in a fruitful area of research that is focused on the function of intestinal epithelium-derived 5-HT.1 The subsequent discovery that 5-HT may play an important role in driving intestinal inflammation has generated interest in the potential of 5-HT antagonists for treatment of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). However, side effects related to the important role of 5-HT in the enteric and central nervous system have precluded drug development in this field. In this issue of Gut, Margolis et al 2 use mouse models to demonstrate that it may be possible to selectively inhibit intestinal mucosal 5-HT signalling and suppress intestinal inflammation without such side effects.

In the intestine, 5-HT is produced by a subset of enteroendrocrine cells called enterochromaffin (EC) …

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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