Dual effect of serotonin on the dendritic growth of cultured hippocampal neurons: Involvement of 5-HT1A and 5-HT7 receptors

P. S. Rojas, F. Aguayo, D. Neira, M. Tejos, E. Aliaga, J. P. Muñoz, C. S. Parra, J. L. Fiedler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Serotonin acts through its receptors (5-HTRs) to shape brain networks during development and modulates essential functions in mature brain. The 5-HT1AR is mainly located at soma of hippocampal neurons early during brain development and its expression gradually shifts to dendrites during postnatal development. The 5-HT7R expressed early during hippocampus development, shows a progressive reduction in its expression postnatally. Considering these changes during development, we evaluated in cultured hippocampal neurons whether the 5-HT1AR and 5-HT7R change their expression, modulate dendritic growth, and activate signaling pathways such as ERK1/2, AKT/GSK3β and LIMK/cofilin, which may sustain dendrite outgrowth by controlling cytoskeleton dynamics. We show that mRNA levels of both receptors increase between 2 and 7 DIV; however only protein levels of 5-HT7R increase significantly at 7 DIV. The 5-HT1AR is preferentially distributed in the soma, while 5-HT7R displays a somato-dendritic localization at 7 DIV. Through stimulation with 5-HT at 7 DIV during 24 h and using specific antagonists, we determined that 5-HT1AR decreases the number of primary and secondary dendrites and restricts the growth of primary dendrites. The activation of 5-HT1AR and 5-HT7R promotes the growth of short secondary dendrites and triggers ERK1/2 and AKT phosphorylation through MEK and PI3K activation respectively; without changes in the phosphorylation of LIMK and cofilin. We conclude that 5-HT1AR restricts dendritogenesis and outgrowth of primary dendrites, but that both 5-HT1AR and 5-HT7R promote secondary dendrite outgrowth. These data support the role of 5-HT in neuronal outgrowth during development and provide insight into cellular basis of neurodevelopmental disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)148-161
Number of pages14
JournalMolecular and Cellular Neuroscience
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017


  • 5-HT1AR
  • 5-HT7R
  • AKT
  • Cofilin
  • Dendrite
  • ERK1/2
  • GSK3β
  • Hippocampal neurons
  • LIMK
  • Outgrowth
  • Serotonin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cell Biology


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