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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Serotonin regulates mouse cranial neural crest migration.

Serotonergic agents (uptake inhibitors, receptor ligands) cause significant craniofacial malformations in cultured mouse embryos suggesting that 5-hydroxytryptamine (serotonin) (5-HT) may be an important regulator of craniofacial development. To determine whether serotonergic regulation of cell migration might underly some of these effects, cranial neural crest (NC) explants from embryonic day 9 (E9) (plug day = E1) mouse embryos or dissociated mandibular mesenchyme cells (derived from NC) from E12 embryos were placed in a modified Boyden chamber to measure effects of serotonergic agents on cell migration. A dose-dependent effect of 5-HT on the migration of highly motile cranial NC cells was demonstrated, such that low concentrations of 5-HT stimulated migration, whereas this effect was progressively lost as the dose of 5-HT was increased. In contrast, most concentrations of 5-HT inhibited migration of less motile, mandibular mesenchyme cells. To investigate the possible involvement of specific 5-HT receptors in the stimulation of NC migration, several 5-HT subtype-selective antagonists were used to block the effects of the most stimulatory dose of 5-HT (0.01 microM). Only NAN-190 (a 5-HT1A antagonist) inhibited the effect of 5-HT, suggesting involvement of this receptor. Further evidence was obtained by using immunohistochemistry with 5-HT receptor antibodies, which revealed expression of the 5-HT1A receptor but not other subtypes by migrating NC cells in both embryos and cranial NC explants. These results suggest that by activating appropriate receptors 5-HT may regulate migration of cranial NC cells and their mesenchymal derivatives in the mouse embryo.[1]


  1. Serotonin regulates mouse cranial neural crest migration. Moiseiwitsch, J.R., Lauder, J.M. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (1995) [Pubmed]
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