Enterochromaffin cells and 5-HT signaling in the pathophysiology of disorders of gastrointestinal function

Michael D. Crowell, Michael A. Shetzline, Peter L. Moses, Gary M. Mawe, Nicholas J. Talley

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


Disorders of gastrointestinal function are common and significantly reduce quality-of-life, as well as negatively impacting healthcare costs. Consequently, there is much interest in understanding the pathogenesis of these disorders. Increasing, albeit as yet limited, evidence has implicated alterations in 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) release, and the subsequent interaction of 5-HT with specific 5-HT receptor subtypes, in the altered gut function of patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and other functional bowel diseases. Alterations to enterochromaffin cells and/or 5-HT signaling can result in gastrointestinal dysmotility, visceral hypersensitivity and secretomotor abnormalities in the gut. Evidence is beginning to link disturbed 5-HT physiology with the pathophysiology of diarrhea and constipation in IBS, and with slow-transit constipation. This review discusses the current evidence on the pathobiology of these systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-60
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Opinion in Investigational Drugs
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2004


  • 5-HT
  • Enterochromaffin cells
  • Irritable bowel syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery


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