Pulsatile urea excretion in Gulf toadfish: the role of circulating serotonin and additional 5-HT receptor subtypes

Maria C. Cartolano, Haley N. Gancel, Joshua Lonthair, Chris M. Wood, M. Danielle McDonald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The neurochemical serotonin (5-HT) is involved in stimulating pulsatile urea excretion in Gulf toadfish (Opsanus beta) through the 5-HT2A receptor; however, it is not known if (1) the 5-HT signal originates from circulation or if (2) additional 5-HT receptor subtypes are involved. The first objective was to test whether 5-HT may be acting as a hormone in the control of pulsatile urea excretion by measuring potential fluctuations in circulating 5-HT corresponding with a urea pulse, which would suggest circulating 5-HT may be involved with urea pulse activation. We found that plasma 5-HT significantly decreased by 38% 1 h after pulse detection when branchial urea excretion was significantly elevated and then returned to baseline. This suggests that 5-HT is removed from the circulation, possibly through clearance or excretion, and may be involved in the termination of pulsatile urea excretion. There appeared to be no pulsatile release of 5-HT from peripheral tissues to trigger a urea pulse. The second objective was to determine if additional 5-HT receptor subtypes, such as an additional 5-HT2 receptor (5-HT2C receptor) or the 5-HT receptors that are linked to cAMP (5-HT4/6/7 receptors), played a role in the stimulation of urea excretion. Intravenous injection of 5-HT2C, 5-HT4, 5-HT6, and 5-HT7 receptor agonists did not result in a urea pulse, suggesting that these receptors, and thus cAMP, are not involved in stimulating urea excretion. The involvement of circulating 5-HT and the 5-HT2A receptor in the regulation of pulsatile urea excretion may provide insight into its adaptive significance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)537-548
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Comparative Physiology B: Biochemical, Systemic, and Environmental Physiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2019


  • 5-HT
  • 5-HT
  • 5-HT
  • 5-HT
  • cAMP
  • tUT

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Endocrinology


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