Molecular signaling of 5-HT1A and presence of serotonergic cells in the fetal cerebral cortex


Early appearance of the serotonergic system in the fetal brain and the various effects of serotonin (5-HT) on brain morphogenesis, have given support to a neurotrophic role of serotonin. This function of serotonin is accomplished through a system of serotonin nerve terminals in the target regions that involves various 5-HT receptors. In visual, auditory and somatosensory cortex an early and intense serotonergic innervation is particularly important. The neuronal somata of these terminals are normally located in the mesencephalon and they have not been observed in the maturing cerebral cortex, neither in the adult brain. By using immunolabeling techniques, fluorescence and confocal microscopy, we observe the presence of both, 5-HT terminals and 5-HT cells in mesencephalon (Me, E17) and in the neopallium (Np, E13-E16) cocultures. Cells immunopositive to 5-HT and to tryptophan-5-hydroxilase are also observed in the Np on day 12 of culture. These results concerning the unexpected presence of serotonergic cells in the fetal cerebral cortex are interesting and may be of importance in corticogenesis. As it happens with other elements of the serotonergic system, the presence of these phenotypically serotonergic cells in the early cerebral cortex may be transitory and probably supporting cortex maturation processes. The molecular signaling path of the 5-HT1A receptor has also been identified.

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Oca, A. , Gutiérrez, G. and Rodríguez, J. (2013) Molecular signaling of 5-HT1A and presence of serotonergic cells in the fetal cerebral cortex. World Journal of Neuroscience, 3, 76-82. doi: 10.4236/wjns.2013.32011.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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