METHODS AND RESULTS:
We have reported previously that Escin IB accelerated gastrointestinal transit (GIT) in mice, and that its effect may be mediated by the release of endogenous prostaglandins (PGs) and nitric oxide (NO). In this study, the possible involvement of 5-HT and 5-HT receptors in the GIT acceleration of Escin IB was investigated in mice. The acceleration of GIT by Escin IB (25 or 50 mg/kg, p.o.) was attenuated by pretreatment with ritanserin (0.5-5 mg/kg, s.c., a 5-HT(2A/2C/2B) receptor antagonist), but not with MDL 72222 (1 and 5 mg/kg, s.c.) and metoclopramide (10 mg/kg, s.c.) (5-HT3 receptor antagonists) or tropisetron (1 and 10 mg/kg, s.c., a 5-HT(3/4) receptor antagonist). Furthermore, pretreatment with ketanserin (0.05-5 mg/kg, s.c.), haloperidol (1-5 mg/kg, s.c.) and spiperone (0.5-5 mg/kg, s.c.) (5-HT2A receptor antagonists), as well as a bolus of dl-p-chlorophenylalanine methyl ester (PCPA, 1000 mg/kg, p.o., 1, 6 or 24 h before administration of the sample) (an inhibitor of 5-HT synthesizing enzyme tryptophan hydroxylase) and reserpine (5 mg/kg, p.o.) (a 5-HT depletor), but not 6-hydroxydopamine (80 mg/kg, i.p., a dopamine depletor) or repeated PCPA (300 mg/kg x2, p.o., 72 and 48 h before administration of the sample), also attenuated the effects of Escin IB.
It is postulated that Escin IB accelerates GIT, at least in part, by stimulating the synthesis of 5-HT to act through 5-HT2, possibly 5-HT2A receptors, which in turn causes the release of NO and PGs.