The in vitro uptake of 3H-5HT into hippocampal slices was measured in Ringer's solution (37°C) containing pargyline, ascorbic acid, and dextrose. The specific uptake of 3H-5HT rose asymptotically as the 3H-5HT molarity was increased from 5 x 10-10 to 1.5 x 10-6 M. Linear regression analysis gave a Km value for the specific uptake of 1.4 x 10-7 M. The nonspecific binding (NSB) was the amount of 3H-5HT retained by the slices following incubation in a medium with a very large excess of unlabeled 5-HT added to dilute the specific uptake of 3H-5HT. This NSB increased with increasing molarity of 3H-5HT, and was linearly related to 3H-5HT concentrations between 5 x 10-9 and 1.5 x 10-6 M. The ratio of specific uptake to NSB was highest at 5 x 10-8 M (2.75) and lowest at 1.5 x 10-6 M of 3H-5HT (0.54). Competition studies with noradrenaline, desipramine (a noradrenergic uptake blocker), fluoxetine (a 5-HT uptake blocker), and tryptophan confirmed the specificity of the 3H-5HT uptake mechanism. Radioautographic studies of in vitro incubated hippocampal slices showed silver grain aggregates at 3H-5HT specific uptake sites. Addition of an excess of unlabeled 5-HT to the slices, or the use of hippocampi from 5,7-dihydroxytryptamine intracerebral microinjected rats (5 μg/400 nl into the fornix-fimbria and the cingulum bundle, 6 day survival) caused a dramatic decrease in these aggregates. The distribution of hippocampal 5-HT axons and terminals, inferred from the pattern of silver grain aggregates, is more widespread than previously described. 5-HT varicosities were clearly seen in all layers of Ammon's horn, dentate gyrus, and the subicular cortex. Innervation routes were seen to the stratum radiatum and stratum lacunosum from stratum oriens in Ammon's horn, and to the polymorphic layer of the dentate gyrus from the subicular cortex and from the fimbria. Semiquantitation of the occurrence of silver grain aggregates was done in the various hippocampal regions. The highest density in Ammon's horn was 119.5 boutons/10,000 μm2, in the dentate gyrus it was 67.4 boutons/10,000 μm2, and in the subicular cortex it was 79.2 boutons/10,000 μm2. These results are consistent with previous quantitative results.
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