The present study was undertaken to test the hypothesis that 5-HT stimulates nitric oxide (NO) generating neurons, and that these neurons participate in the mediation of 5-HT-induced fluid secretion. 5-HT induced electrogenic Cl-secretion in guinea-pig distal colon. This response was abolished by tetrodotoxin but not by atropine. The maximum response to 5-HT (10-5M) was inhibited by ∼ 65% (P < 0.05, n = 6) by the NO synthase inhibitor, NG-nitro-L-arginine (L-NNA, 10-4M). The substrate of NO synthase, L-Arg (10-3M) reversed the inhibition of 5-HT-induced secretions by L-NNA. 5-HT-induced diarrhea in fasted mice was reduced by atropine in vivo. NG-Nitro-L-Arg methyl ester (L-NAME, 1-32 mg/kg, i.p.) dose-dependently inhibited 5-HT (1 mg/kg)-induced diarrhea. The inhibitory effect of L-NAME was reversed by L-Arg, but not D-Arg (600 mg/kg, i.p., respectively). Taken together, these data suggest that 5-HT-induced fluid secretion in the gut is partly due to the activation of neurons that generate NO. © 1996.
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