The effects of serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine; 5-HT) on catecholamine release from chromaffin tissue were investigated in the rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) in vivo and in situ. Intra-arterial injections of serotonin in vivo caused dose-dependent (50–250 nmol kg-1) increases in both plasma noradrenaline and adrenaline levels. Pre-treatment of fish with the serotonergic receptor antagonist methysergide did not abolish these increases. An in situ saline-perfused head kidney preparation was developed and validated to study the potential direct effect of serotonin on catecholamine release. The chromaffin cells in the preparation showed a dose-dependent release of catecholamines in response to bolus injections of the cholinergic receptor agonist carbachol (10–7-10-4 mol kg-1). The carbachol-induced release of noradrenaline, but not of adrenaline, was reduced significantly when the nicotinic receptor antagonist hexamethonium (10–4 mol l-1) was present in the perfusion fluid. The removal of calcium from the perfusion fluid prevented the usual release of catecholamines evoked by carbachol. Bolus injections of serotonin (250 nmol kg-1) into the inflowing perfusion fluid resulted in significantly increased levels of adrenaline and noradrenaline in the outflowing perfusate. Addition of hexamethonium to the perfusion fluid did not abolish this serotonin-induced release of catecholamines. The serotonin-induced release of adrenaline, however, was abolished totally by the addition of methysergide. Serotonin is present in high concentrations (44.61+/−5.96 microgram g-1 tissue) in the anterior region of the posterior cardinal vein within the head kidney. Carbachol (10–5 mol kg-1) did not elicit release of the stored serotonin from the perfused head kidney preparation. We conclude that the chromaffin cells in the perfused trout head kidney preparation display characteristics similar to those of other vertebrates and that this preparation is a useful tool for studying the control of catecholamine release in fish. The results demonstrate that serotonin has a direct impact on the chromaffin cells by interacting with methysergide-sensitive receptors to initiate the release of adrenaline. The potential physiological role of serotonin on catecholamine release in trout is discussed.

This content is only available via PDF.