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J Biol Chem. 2001 Aug 3;276(31):28961-8. Epub 2001 May 31.

Expression of serotonin receptors in bone.

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  • 1Leiden University Medical Center, Department of Molecular Cell Biology, Wassenaarseweg 72, 2333 AL, Leiden, The Netherlands.


The 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) receptors 5-HT(2A), 5-HT(2B), and 5-HT(2C) belong to a subfamily of serotonin receptors. Amino acid and mRNA sequences of these receptors have been published for several species including man. The 5-HT(2) receptors have been reported to act on nervous, muscle, and endothelial tissues. Here we report the presence of 5-HT(2B) receptor in fetal chicken bone cells. 5-HT(2B) receptor mRNA expression was demonstrated in osteocytes, osteoblasts, and periosteal fibroblasts, a population containing osteoblast precursor cells. Pharmacological studies using several agonists and antagonists showed that occupancy of the 5-HT(2B) receptor stimulates the proliferation of periosteal fibroblasts. Activity of the 5-HT(2A) receptor could however not be excluded. mRNA for both receptors was shown to be equally present in adult mouse osteoblasts. Osteocytes, which showed the highest expression of 5-HT(2B) receptor mRNA in chicken, and to a lesser extent osteoblasts, are considered to be mechanosensor cells involved in the adaptation of bone to its mechanical usage. Nitric oxide is one of the signaling molecules that is released upon mechanical stimulation of osteocytes and osteoblasts. The serotonin analog alpha-methyl-5-HT, which preferentially binds to 5-HT(2) receptors, decreased nitric oxide release by mechanically stimulated mouse osteoblasts. These results demonstrate that serotonin is involved in bone metabolism and its mechanoregulation.

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