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  • 1 Hungarian Academy of Sciences, H-8237 Tihany, Hungary
  • | 2 Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow 119334, Russia
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Hatching is an important phase of the development of pulmonate gastropods followed by the adult-like extracapsular foraging life. Right before hatching the juveniles start to display a rhythmic radula movement, executed by the buccal complex, consisting of the buccal musculature (mass) and a pair of the buccal ganglia. In order to have a detailed insight into this process, we investigated the serotonergic regulation of the buccal (feeding) rhythm in 100% stage embryos of the pond snail, Lymnaea stagnalis, applying quantitative immunohistochemistry combined with the pharmacological manipulation of the serotonin (5-HT) synthesis, by either stimulating (by the 5-HT precursor 5-hydroxytryptophan, 5-HTP) or inhibiting (by the 5-HT synthesis blocker para-chlorophenylalanine, pCPA) it. Corresponding to the direction of the drug effect, significant changes of the fluorescence intensity could be detected both in the cerebral ganglia and the buccal complex. HPLC-MS assay demonstrated that 5-HTP increased meanwhile pCPA decreased the 5-HT content both of the central ganglia and the buccal complex. As to the feeding activity, 5-HTP induced only a slight (20%) increase, whereas the pCPA resulted in a 20% decrease of the radula protrusion frequency. Inhibition of 5-HT re-uptake by clomipramine reduced the frequency by 75%. The results prove the role of both central and peripheral 5-HTergic processes in the regulation of feeding activity. Application of specific receptor agonists and antagonists revealed that activation of a 5-HT1-like receptor depressed the feeding activity, meanwhile activation of a 5-HT6,7-like receptor enhanced it. Saturation binding plot of [3H]-5-HT to receptor and binding experiments performed on membrane pellets prepared from the buccal mass indicated the presence of a 5-HT6-like receptor positively coupled to cAMP. The results suggest that 5-HT influences the buccal (feeding) rhythmic activity in two ways: an inhibitory action is probably exerted via 5-HT1-like receptors, while an excitatory action is realized through 5-HT6,7-like receptors.

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