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The presence and abundance of 5-HT1A and 5-HT2A receptor mRNAs in post mortem human hippocampus was investigated using a novel quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) technique using cyclophilin mRNA as an internal standard. 5-HT1A and 5-HT2A receptor mRNAs were each co-amplified with varying dilutions of cyclophilin primers, and their abundance expressed as a ratio of cyclophilin mRNA. Using this technique in combination with quantitative autoradiography we have investigated the effect of aging on hippocampal 5-HT1A and 5-HT2A receptor mRNA abundance and binding site densities. There was a significant negative correlation between hippocampal 5-HT1A receptor binding site densities and age and a similar trend for 5-HT1A receptor mRNA abundance. Neither 5-HT2A receptor binding site densities nor mRNA abundance were affected by age. Both 5-HT1A and 5-HT2A receptor binding site densities in individual subjects correlated significantly with abundance of their encoding mRNA. This study demonstrates that 5-HT1A and 5-HT2A receptor mRNAs can be measured in small samples of human brain. Combining studies of mRNA with those directed at binding sites will help reveal mechanisms underlying changes in expression of these receptors in various neuropsychiatric disorders.

Original publication




Journal article


Neurosci Lett

Publication Date





85 - 89


8-Hydroxy-2-(di-n-propylamino)tetralin, Adult, Aging, Amino Acid Isomerases, Base Sequence, Binding Sites, Carrier Proteins, Chaperonins, DNA Primers, Hippocampus, Humans, Ketanserin, Middle Aged, Molecular Sequence Data, Peptidylprolyl Isomerase, Polymerase Chain Reaction, RNA, Messenger, RNA-Directed DNA Polymerase, Receptors, Serotonin, Tritium