Quantitative mRNA Analysis of Eight Bovine 5-HT Receptor Subtypes in Brain, Abomasum, and Intestine by Real-Time RT-PCR

Martin Reist, Michael W. Pfaffl, Claudine Morel, Mireille Meylan, Gabriela Hirsbrunner, Jürg W. Blum, Adrian Steiner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Serotoninergic pathways are involved in economically important bovine gastrointestinal (GI) motility disorders such as displaced abomasum and cecal dilatation/dislocation. The existing research tools to investigate the role of serotoninergic pathways in such disorders in ruminants comprise functional pharmacological methods, e.g., in vitro contractility studies in tissue baths, and electromyographical recordings in vivo. However, no tools for quantification of bovine serotonin receptor [5-hydroxytryptamine receptor (5-HTR)] expression were available so far. This study aimed to develop real-time RT-PCR assays for quantitative mRNA analysis of bovine 5-HTR subtypes. Because the bovine 5-HTR coding sequences (CDSs) were completely unknown, multiple species (human, mouse, and rat) alignment of complete CDS was used for primer design in highly homologous regions. LightCycler real-]time RT-PCR assays (partial CDS) for the following bovine 5-HTR subtypes were developed and validated: 5-HTR1A, 5-HTR1B, 5-HTR1D, 5-HTR1F 5-HTR2A, 5-HTR2B, 5-HTR2C, and 5-HTR4. Intra- and inter-assay coefficients of variation (CV) for the eight established assays were small, ranging from 0.49% to 2.46%. As a first physiological application, 5-HTR mRNA expression levels were measured in brain, abomasum, and intestine of 10 healthy, lactating dairy cows. The 5-HTR expression was quantified by normalization to the housekeeping gene glyceraldehyde-phosphate-dehydrogenase (GAPDH). The 5-HTR subtype expression levels ranged from 0.001% (5-HTR2C in intestine) to 1% 5-HTR/GAPDH (5-HTR1B and 5-HTR4 in intestine). There were high variations of 5-HTR subtype mRNA expression within tissues across receptor subtypes and within receptor subtypes across tissues. In conclusion, accurate real-time RT-PCR assays for quantitative analysis of bovine 5-HTR subtype gene expression were developed and validated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-287
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Receptor and Signal Transduction Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2003


  • Bovine
  • Quantitative mRNA analysis
  • Real-time RT-PCR
  • Serotonin receptor (5-HTR)


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