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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) …
Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.
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