A fast excitatory synaptic potential mediated by 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) was recorded in rat lateral amygdala neurons in brain slices. The synaptic potential has brief duration (tens of milliseconds), is mimicked by 5-HT, is potentiated by a 5-HT uptake inhibitor, and is blocked by selective 5-HT3 receptor antagonists. The underlying synaptic current reversed polarity at about 0 mV. This is an example of fast neurotransmission in the mammalian brain mediated by an amine rather than an amino acid. The antiemetic, anxiolytic, and perhaps antipsychotic actions of 5-HT3 antagonists might result from blockade of such synapses.
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