Serotonin (5-HT) has been implicated in centrally mediated compensatory responses to volume loss in rats. Accordingly, we hypothesized that slowly developing, non-hypotensive hypovolemia increases serotonin in the hindbrain nucleus of the solitary tract (NTS). We produced volume loss in adult male rats by administering hyperoncotic polyethylene glycol (PEG) and then assessed 5-HT levels in the NTS using measurements of tissue 5-HT content or 5-HT immunohistochemistry. The results show selective increases of 5-HT in the caudal NTS after PEG treatment, but no change in the primary 5-HT metabolite, 5-HIAA. Moreover, the intensity of 5-HT immunolabeled fibers in the caudal NTS was increased after PEG treatment. These findings suggest that, after PEG-induced hypovolemia, 5-HT accumulates in neural elements in the caudal NTS. We propose that this accumulation is attributable to an initial release of 5-HT that then acts at presynaptic autoreceptors to inhibit subsequent 5-HT release.
- Baroreflex pathway