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Am J Physiol. 1999 Jun;276(6):F922-30. doi: 10.1152/ajprenal.1999.276.6.F922.

Serotonin 5-HT2A receptor induces TGF-beta1 expression in mesangial cells via ERK: proliferative and fibrotic signals.

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Department of Medicine, Nephrology Division, Medical University of South Carolina and the Ralph H. Johnson Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Charleston, South Carolina 29425, USA.


We examined the links between fibrotic and proliferative pathways for the 5-HT2A receptor in rat mesangial cells. Serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT) induced transforming growth factor-beta1 (TGF-beta1) mRNA in a concentration-dependent (peak at 30 nM 5-HT) and time-dependent fashion. For 10 nM 5-HT, the effect was noticeable at 1 h and maximal by 6 h. Inhibition of 1) protein kinase C (PKC), 2) mitogen- and extracellular signal-regulated kinase kinase (MEK1) with 2'-amino-3'-methoxyflavone (PD-90859), and 3) extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) with apigenin attenuated this effect. The effect was blocked by antioxidants, N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC) and alpha-lipoic acid, and mimicked by direct application of H2O2. TGF-beta1 mRNA induction was also blocked by diphenyleneiodonium and 4-(2-aminoethyl)-benzenesulfonyl fluoride, which inhibit NAD(P)H oxidase, a source of oxidants. 5-HT increased the amount of TGF-beta1 protein, validating the mRNA studies and demonstrating that 5-HT potently activates ERK and induces TGF-beta1 mRNA and protein in mesangial cells. Mapping studies strongly supported relative positions of the components of the signaling cascade as follow: 5-HT2A receptor --> PKC --> NAD(P)H oxidase/reactive oxygen species --> MEK --> ERK --> TGF-beta1 mRNA. These studies demonstrate that mitogenic signaling components (PKC, MEK, and oxidants) are directly linked to the regulation of TGF-beta1, a key mediator of fibrosis. Thus a single stimulus can direct both proliferative and fibrotic signals in renal mesangial cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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