Serotonin in the developing stomatogastric system of the lobster, Homarus americanus

Kathryn S Richards, David J Simon, Stefan R Pulver, Barbara S Beltz, Eve Marder

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35 Citations (Scopus)


We studied the development of the serotonergic modulation of the stomatogastric nervous system of the lobster, Homarus americanus. Although the stomatogastric ganglion (STG) is present early in embryonic development, serotonin immunoreactivity is not visible in the STG until the second larval stage. However, incubation of the STG with exogenous serotonin showed that a serotonin transporter is present in embryonic and early larval stages. Serotonin uptake was blocked by paroxetine and 0% Na(+) saline. The presence of a serotonin transporter in the embryonic STG suggests that hormonally liberated serotonin could be taken up by the STG, and potentially released as a "borrowed transmitter". Consistent with a potential hormonal role, serotonin is found in the pericardial organs, a major neurosecretory structure, by midembryonic development. The rhythmic motor patterns produced by embryonic and larval STGs were decreased in frequency by serotonin. Lateral Pyloric (LP) neuron-evoked excitatory junctional potentials (EJPs) in the embryos and the first larval stage (LI) were larger, slower, and more variable than those in the adult. The amplitude of adult LP neuron-evoked EJPs was increased more than twofold in serotonin, but in embryos and LI preparations this effect was negligible. In embryos and LI preparations, serotonin increased the occurrence of muscle fiber action potentials and altered the EJP wave-form. These data demonstrate that serotonin receptors are present in the stomatogastric nervous system early in development, and suggest that the role of serotonin changes from modulation of muscle fiber excitability early in development to enhancement of neurally evoked EJPs in the adult.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)380-92
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of neurobiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 5 Feb 2003


  • Age Factors
  • Animals
  • Digestive System
  • Female
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Male
  • Membrane Potentials
  • Nephropidae
  • Nervous System
  • Neuromuscular Junction
  • Neurons
  • Paroxetine
  • Serotonin
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors


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