The multifaceted role of serotonin in intestinal homeostasis

Nienke Koopman, Drosos Katsavelis, Anne S. ten Hove, Stanley Brul, Wouter J. de Jonge, Jurgen Seppen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


The monoamine serotonin, 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT), is a remarkable molecule with conserved production in prokaryotes and eukaryotes and a wide range of functions. In the gastrointestinal tract, enterochromaffin cells are the most important source for 5-HT production. Some intestinal bacterial species are also able to produce 5-HT. Besides its role as a neurotransmitter, 5-HT acts on immune cells to regulate their activation. Several lines of evidence indicate that intestinal 5-HT signaling is altered in patients with inflammatory bowel disease. In this review, we discuss the current knowledge on the production, secretion, and signaling of 5-HT in the intestine. We present an inventory of intestinal immune and epithelial cells that respond to 5-HT and describe the effects of these signaling processes on intestinal homeostasis. Further, we detail the mechanisms by which 5-HT could affect inflammatory bowel disease course and describe the effects of interventions that target intestinal 5-HT signaling.
Original languageEnglish
Article number9487
Number of pages23
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2021


  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Intestine
  • Microbiome
  • Tryptophan

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