The effect of 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) on the crypt cell production rate in normal human duodenal mucosa cultured in vitro was studied using a stathmokinetic technique with crypt microdissection. The addition of 5-HT (2 mg/ml) to the culture medium significantly increased the crypt cell production rate (p less than 0.001), suggesting that this amine may have a trophic effect on crypt cells in vitro. Increased synthesis and release of 5-HT from enterochromaffin cells in patients with coeliac disease may increase the crypt cell production rate and lead to a flattened small intestinal mucosa.
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