Serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine; 5-HT) delivered over 1week results in a sustained fall in blood pressure in the sham and deoxycorticosterone acetate (DOCA)-salt rat. We hypothesized 5-HT lowers blood pressure through direct receptor-mediated vascular relaxation. In vivo, 5-HT reduced mean arterial pressure (MAP), increased heart rate, stroke volume, cardiac index, and reduced total peripheral resistance during a 1week infusion of 5-HT (25 µg/kg/min) in the normotensive Sprague Dawley rat. The mesenteric vasculature was chosen as an ideal candidate for the site of 5-HT receptor mediated vascular relaxation given the high percentage of cardiac output the site receives. Real-time RT-PCR demonstrated that mRNA transcripts for the 5-HT2B, 5-HT1B, and 5-HT7 receptors are present in sham and DOCA-salt superior mesenteric arteries. Immunohistochemistry and Western blot validated the presence of the 5-HT2B, 5- HT1B and 5-HT7 receptor protein in sham and DOCA-salt superior mesenteric artery. Isometric contractile force was measured in endothelium-intact superior mesenteric artery and mesenteric resistance arteries in which the contractile 5- HT2A receptor was antagonized. Maximum concentrations of BW-723C86 (5- HT2B agonist), CP 93129 (5-HT1B agonist) or LP-44 (5-HT7 agonist) did not relax the superior mesenteric artery from DOCA-salt rats vs. vehicle. Additionally, 5-HT (10–9M to 10–5M) did not cause relaxation in either contracted mesenteric resistance arteries or superior mesenteric arteries from normotensive Sprague- Dawley rats. Thus, although 5-HT receptors known to mediate vascular relaxation are present in the superior mesenteric artery, they are not functional, and are therefore not likely involved in a 5-HT-induced fall in total peripheral resistance and MAP.
Keywords: Serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT), Blood pressure, Hypotension