Serotonin and GI Disorders: An Update on Clinical and Experimental Studies

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The gastrointestinal (GI) tract is the largest producer of serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT)) in the body, and as such it is intimately connected with GI function and physiology. 5-HT produced by enterochromaffin (EC) cells is an important enteric mucosal signaling molecule and has been implicated in a number of GI diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease and functional disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome. This review will focus on what is known of basic 5-HT physiology and also on the emerging evidence for its novel role in activation of immune response and inflammation in the gut. Utilizing, search terms such as “5-HT,” “EC cell,” and “colitis,” as well as pertinent reviews, were used to develop a brief overview of EC cell biology and the association between 5-HT and various GI disorders. It is the aim of this review to provide the readers with an update on EC cell biology and current understanding on the role of 5-HT in GI disorders specifically in inflammatory conditions.

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