The release of the endotoxin lipopolysaccharides (LPS) from gram-negative bacteria is key in the induction of the downstream cytokine release from cells targeting cells throughout the body. However, LPS itself has direct effects on cellular activity and can alter synaptic transmission. Animals experiencing septicemia are generally in a critical state and are often treated with various pharmacological agents. Since antidepressants related to the serotonergic system have been shown to have a positive outcome for septicemic conditions impacting the central nervous system, the actions of serotonin (5-HT) on neurons also exposed to LPS were investigated. At the model glutamatergic synapse of the crayfish neuromuscular junction (NMJ), 5-HT primarily acts through a 5-HT2A receptor subtype to enhance transmission to the motor neurons. LPS from Serratia marcescens also enhances transmission at the crayfish NMJ but by a currently unknown mechanism. LPS at 100 µg/mL had no significant effect on transmission or on altering the response to 5-HT. LPS at 500 µg/mL increased the amplitude of the evoked synaptic excitatory junction potential, and 5-HT in combination with 500 µg/mL LPS continued to promote enhanced transmission. The preparations maintained responsiveness to serotonin in the presence of low or high concentrations of LPS.

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Published in Biology, v. 9, issue 8.

© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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Funded by Chellgren Endowed Professor fund (RLC).

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