1998 Volume 48 Issue 5 Pages 333-339
Intestinal ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) causes serious systemic injury, mainly from a variety of bioactive substances released from the injured intestine. To assess the possible roles of serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT), a bioactive amine mainly stored in the intestine, in I/R injury, we assayed the levels of tryptophan, 5-HT, and 5-hydroxyindole acetic acid (5-HIAA) in the blood and intestine in a rat I/R model. Plasma 5-HT increased significantly over time after reperfusion; the plateau level was obtained 4h after reperfusion and was associated with an increase in 5-HIAA. Plasma tryptophan levels declined gradually after reperfusion. The ratio of 5-HIAA/5-HT was significantly higher in I/R rats than in control rats, suggesting that elevated 5-HT was quickly metabolized in the systemic circulation. In the intestine, 5-HT decreased dramatically, whereas tryptophan increased. This phenomenon was prominent in the severely damaged intestine. These findings suggest that the injured intestine released large amounts of 5-HT, whereas its synthesis in the injured intestine was suppressed. An increase in 5-HT in the circulation may be related to various circulatory disturbances observed in humans after intestinal ischemia.