Cardiovascular afferents cause the release of 5-HT in the nucleus tractus solitarii; this release is regulated by the low- (PMAT) not the high-affinity transporter (SERT)

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The nucleus tractus solitarii (NTS) integrates inputs from cardiovascular afferents and thus is crucial for cardiovascular homeostasis. These afferents primarily release glutamate, although 5-HT has also been shown to play a role in their actions. Using fast-cyclic voltammetry, an increase in 5-HT concentrations (range 12–50 nm) could be detected in the NTS in anaesthetized rats in response to electrical stimulation of the vagus and activation of cardiopulmonary, chemo- and baroreceptor reflexes. This 5-HT signal was not potentiated by the serotonin transporter (SERT) or the noradrenaline transporter (NET) inhibitors citalopram and desipramine (1 mg kg−1). However, decynium-22 (600 μg kg−1), an organic cation 3 transporter (OCT3)/plasma membrane monoamine transporter (PMAT) inhibitor, increased the 5-HT signal by 111 ± 21% from 29 ± 10 nm. The effectiveness of these inhibitors was tested against the removal time of 5-HT and noradrenaline applied by microinjection to the NTS. Citalopram and decynium-22 attenuated the removal of 5-HT but not noradrenaline, whereas desipramine had the reverse action. The OCT3 inhibitor corticosterone (10 mg kg−1) had no effect. Blockade of glutamate receptors with topical kynurenate (10–50 nm) reduced the vagally evoked 5-HT signal by 50%, indicating that this release was from at least two sources. It is concluded that vagally evoked 5-HT release is under the regulation of the high-capacity, low-affinity transporter PMAT, not the low-capacity, high-affinity transporter SERT. This is the first demonstration that PMAT may be playing a physiological role in the regulation of 5-HT transmission and this could indicate that 5-HT is acting, in part, as a volume transmitter within the NTS.

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