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

Quantitative evaluation of 5-hydroxytryptamine (serotonin) neuronal release and uptake: an investigation of extrasynaptic transmission.

Whether neurotransmitters are restricted to the synaptic cleft (participating only in hard-wired neurotransmission) or diffuse to remote receptor sites (participating in what has been termed volume or paracrine transmission) depends on a number of factors. These include (1) the location of release sites with respect to the receptors, (2) the number of molecules released, (3) the diffusional rate away from the release site, determined by both the geometry near the release site as well as binding interactions, and (4) the removal of transmitter by the relevant transporter. Fast-scan cyclic voltammetry allows for the detection of extrasynaptic concentrations of many biogenic amines, permitting direct access to many of these parameters. In this study the hypothesis that 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) transmission is primarily extrasynaptic in the substantia nigra reticulata, a terminal region with identified synaptic contacts, and the dorsal raphe nucleus, a somatodendritic region with rare synaptic incidence, was tested in brain slices prepared from the rat. Using carbon fiber microelectrodes, we found the concentration of 5-HT released per stimulus pulse in both regions to be identical when elicited by single pulse stimulations or trains at high frequency. 5-HT efflux elicited by a single stimulus pulse was unaffected by uptake inhibition or receptor antagonism. Thus, synaptic efflux is not restricted by binding to intrasynaptic receptors or transporters. The number of 5-HT molecules released per terminal was estimated in the substantia nigra reticulata and was considerably less than the number of 5-HT transporter and receptor sites, reinforcing the hypothesis that these sites are extrasynaptic. Furthermore, the detected extrasynaptic concentrations closely match the affinity for the predominant 5-HT receptor in each region. Although they do not disprove the existence of classical synaptic transmission, our results support the existence of paracrine neurotransmission in both serotonergic regions.[1]


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