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Respir Res. 2002;3:9. Epub 2001 Nov 20.

Anorexigen-induced pulmonary hypertension and the serotonin (5-HT) hypothesis: lessons for the future in pathogenesis.

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INSERM U492, Département de Physiologie, Hôpital H Mondor, Créteil, France.


Epidemiological studies have established that fenfluramine, D-fenfluramine, and aminorex, but not other appetite suppressants, increase the risk of primary pulmonary hypertension (PH). One current hypothesis suggests that fenfluramine-like medications may act through interactions with the serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine [5-HT]) transporter (5-HTT) located on pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells and responsible for the mitogenic action of 5-HT. Anorexigens may contribute to PH by boosting 5-HT levels in the bloodstream, directly stimulating smooth muscle cell growth, or altering 5-HTT expression. We suggest that individuals with a high basal level of 5-HTT expression related to the presence of the long 5-HTT gene promoter variant may be particularly susceptible to one or more of these potential mechanisms of appetite-suppressant-related PH.

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