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Eur Respir J. 2008 Aug;32(2):426-36. doi: 10.1183/09031936.00126907. Epub 2008 Mar 5.

Modulation of bleomycin-induced lung fibrosis by serotonin receptor antagonists in mice.

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INSERM Unit 700, Faculté de Médecine Paris 7 Denis Diderot, 75018 Paris, France.


Serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine; 5-HT) is known to increase proliferation and collagen synthesis by fibroblasts. Two receptor subtypes, 5-HT2A and 5-HT2B, have been shown to play the most important roles in the lung. In the present study, the role of serotonin in lung fibrosis was investigated using the bleomycin mouse model. Serotonin concentrations in lung homogenates increased significantly over the time course of bleomycin-induced fibrosis, with a maximum at day seven. The expression of serotonin receptors 5-HT2A and 5-HT2B increased in the lung after bleomycin treatment, as assessed by PCR, specific binding and immunohistochemistry. Blockage of 5-HT2A receptors by ketanserin and 5-HT2B receptors by SB215505 reduced bleomycin-induced lung fibrosis, as demonstrated by reduced lung collagen content and reduced procollagen 1 and procollagen 3 mRNA expression. Serotonin antagonists promoted an antifibrotic environment by decreasing the lung mRNA levels of transforming growth factor-beta1, connective growth factor and plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 mRNA, but had minimal effects on lung inflammation as assessed by bronchoalveolar lavage cytology analysis. Interestingly, the 5-HT2B receptor was strongly expressed by fibroblasts in the fibroblastic foci in human idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis samples. In conclusion, the present study showed involvement of serotonin in the pathophysiology of bleomycin-induced lung fibrosis in mice and identified it as a potential therapeutic target in lung fibrotic disorders.

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