Serotonin Signaling Through the 5-HT1B Receptor and NADPH Oxidase 1 in Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension

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Objective—Serotonin can induce human pulmonary artery smooth muscle cell (hPASMC) proliferation through reactive oxygen species (ROS), influencing the development of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). We hypothesize that in PASMCs, serotonin induces oxidative stress through NADPH-oxidase–derived ROS generation and reduced Nrf-2 (nuclear factor [erythroid-derived 2]-like 2) antioxidant systems, promoting vascular injury.Approach and Results—HPASMCs from controls and PAH patients, and PASMCs from Nox1−/− mice, were stimulated with serotonin in the absence/presence of inhibitors of Src kinase, the 5-HT1B receptor, and NADPH oxidase 1 (Nox1). Markers of fibrosis were also determined. The pathophysiological significance of our findings was examined in vivo in serotonin transporter overexpressing female mice, a model of pulmonary hypertension. We confirmed thatserotonin increased superoxide and hydrogen peroxide production in these cells. For the first time, we show that serotonin increased oxidized protein tyrosine phosphatases and hyperoxidized peroxiredoxin and decreased Nrf-2 and catalase activity in hPASMCs. ROS generation was exaggerated and dependent on cellular Src-related kinase, 5-HT1B receptor, and the serotonin transporter in human pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells from PAH subjects. Proliferation and extracellular matrix remodeling were exaggerated in human pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells from PAH subjects and dependent on 5-HT1B receptor signaling and Nox1, confirmed in PASMCs from Nox1−/− mice. In serotonin transporter overexpressing mice, SB216641, a 5-HT1B receptor antagonist, prevented development of pulmonary hypertension in a ROS-dependent manner.Conclusions—Serotonin can induce cellular Src-related kinase–regulated Nox1-induced ROS and Nrf-2 dysregulation, contributing to increased post-translational oxidative modification of proteins and activation of redox-sensitive signaling pathways in hPASMCs, associated with mitogenic responses. 5-HT1B receptors contribute to experimental pulmonary hypertension by inducing lung ROS production. Our results suggest that 5-HT1B receptor–dependent cellular Src-related kinase-Nox1-pathways contribute to vascular remodeling in PAH.

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