Organoids as an ex vivo model for studying the serotonin system in the murine small intestine and colon epithelium

Takeshi Tsuruta, Shinichi Saito, Yosuke Osaki, Akihiro Hamada, Ayako Aoki-Yoshida, Kei Sonoyama

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Intestinal organoids were recently established as an ex vivo model of the intestinal epithelium. The present study investigated the serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT) system using organoids. Organoids from murine small intestinal and colonic crypts were successfully cultured. Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) analysis showed that small intestinal and colonic organoids express mRNAs encoding tryptophan hydroxylase-1 (TPH1) (the rate-limiting enzyme of 5-HT synthesis), serotonin reuptake transporter (SERT), 5-HT receptor (HTR)2A, HTR2B, and HTR4. SERT mRNA levels were significantly higher in the small intestine than in the colon in both the mucosal tissues and organoids, as estimated by quantitative real-time RT-PCR. Although the 5-HT concentration and levels of chromogranin A (CgA) (an enteroendocrine cell marker), TPH1, and HTR4 mRNAs were significantly higher in the colonic mucosa than the small intestinal mucosa, they were the same in small intestinal and colonic organoids. There were no significant differences in HTR2A and HTR2B mRNA levels between the small intestine and colon in either the mucosal tissues or organoids. Immunofluorescence staining showed that the number of CgA-positive cells in the colonic organoids appeared to increase upon culturing with acetate. Acetate supplementation significantly increased CgA, TPH1, and HTR4 mRNA levels in the colonic organoids. We propose that organoids are useful for investigating the 5-HT system in the intestinal epithelium, even though colonic organoids may require gut microbiota-derived factors such as short-chain fatty acids.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-167
Number of pages7
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - May 20 2016


  • Enterochromaffin cell
  • Intestinal organoid
  • Serotonin
  • Short-chain fatty acid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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