1. Molluscan neurones have been found to show six different types of response (three excitatory and three inhibitory) to the iontophoretic application of 5‐hydroxytryptamine (5‐HT). The pharmacological properties of the receptors and the ionic mechanisms associated with these responses have been analysed. 2. Four of the responses to 5‐HT (named A, A′, B and C) are consequent upon an increase in membrane conductance whereas the other two (named α and β) are caused by a decrease in membrane conductance. 3. The A‐response to 5‐HT consists of a ‘fast’ depolarization due to an increase mainly in Na+‐conductance; the A′‐response is a ‘slow’ depolarization also associated with a Na+‐conductance increase. Receptors mediating the A‐ and A′‐depolarizations have different pharmacological properties and may exist side by side on the same neurone. 4. Both the B‐ and C‐responses are inhibitory. The B‐response is a ‘slow’ hyperpolarization due to an increase in K+‐conductance, the C‐response is a fast hyperpolarization associated with an increase in Cl−‐conductance. 5. The α‐response to 5‐HT is a depolarization which becomes reduced in amplitude with cell hyperpolarization and reverses at −75 mV; it is caused by a decrease in K+‐conductance. The β‐response is an hyperpolarization which increases in amplitude with cell hyperpolarization and reverses at −20/−30 mV. It results from a decrease in conductance to both Na+ and K+ ions. 6. The receptors involved in the 5‐HT responses associated with a conductance increase may be recognized by the action of specific antagonists: 7‐methyltryptamine blocks only the A‐receptors, 5‐methoxygramine only the B‐receptors and neostigmine only the C‐receptors. Curare blocks the A‐ and C‐receptors and bufotenine, the A‐, A′‐ and B‐receptors. No specific antagonists have yet been found for the 5‐HT responses caused by a conductance decrease. 7. The significance of the multiplicity of receptors is discussed. Their functional significance at synapses is analysed in the following paper.
The Journal of Physiology – Wiley
Published: Dec 1, 1974
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