The present study was undertaken to investigate the role of the 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) ionotrophic receptor 5-HT3 in the activation of human Jurkat T-cells. 5-HT and 2-methyl-5-HT (2Me-5-HT), an agonist of the 5-HT3 receptor, induced increases in intracellular free Na+ concentrations, [Na+]i, via opening of the ionotrophic receptor in these cells. These two serotonergic (5-hydroxytryptaminergic) agents potentiated phytohaemagglutinin (PHA)-induced T-cell activation. However, they failed to potentiate dioctanoglycerol-plus-ionomycin-stimulated T-cell blastogenesis. Interestingly, an inhibitor of protein kinase C (PKC), GF 109203X, curtailed significantly 5-HT and 2Me-5-HT-potentiated T-cell activation. These results demonstrate that the opening of the 5-HT3 ionotrophic receptor is implicated in T-cell activation via the PKC pathway. Furthermore, 5-HT and 2Me-5-HT stimulated phospholipase D (PLD) activity, as measured by the production of phosphatidylethanol and phosphatidylbutanol at the expense of phosphatidic acid (PA). GF 109203X significantly curtailed the 5-HT- and 2Me-5-HT-induced PLD activity and T-cell activation. The PLD/PA pathway stimulated by these two serotonergic agents resulted in the production of 1,2-diacylglycerol (DAG) mass in Jurkat T-cells. These results altogether suggest that 5-HT and 2Me-5-HT potentiate T-cell activation via increases in [Na+]i and the activation of the PKC-dependent PLD pathway.

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