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PLoS One. 2011 Mar 25;6(3):e17735. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0017735.

Altered gene expression in pulmonary tissue of tryptophan hydroxylase-1 knockout mice: implications for pulmonary arterial hypertension.

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1
Translational Pharmacology Section, Intramural Research Program, National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health, Baltimore, Maryland, United States of America. rrothman@mail.nih.gov

Abstract

The use of fenfluramines can increase the risk of developing pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) in humans, but the mechanisms responsible are unresolved. A recent study reported that female mice lacking the gene for tryptophan hydroxylase-1 (Tph1(-/-) mice) were protected from PAH caused by chronic dexfenfluramine, suggesting a pivotal role for peripheral serotonin (5-HT) in the disease process. Here we tested two alternative hypotheses which might explain the lack of dexfenfluramine-induced PAH in Tph1(-/-) mice. We postulated that: 1) Tph1(-/-) mice express lower levels of pulmonary 5-HT transporter (SERT) when compared to wild-type controls, and 2) Tph1(-/-) mice display adaptive changes in the expression of non-serotonergic pulmonary genes which are implicated in PAH. SERT was measured using radioligand binding methods, whereas gene expression was measured using microarrays followed by quantitative real time PCR (qRT-PCR). Contrary to our first hypothesis, the number of pulmonary SERT sites was modestly up-regulated in female Tph1(-/-) mice. The expression of 51 distinct genes was significantly altered in the lungs of female Tph1(-/-) mice. Consistent with our second hypothesis, qRT-PCR confirmed that at least three genes implicated in the pathogenesis of PAH were markedly up-regulated: Has2, Hapln3 and Retlna. The finding that female Tph1(-/-) mice are protected from dexfenfluramine-induced PAH could be related to compensatory changes in pulmonary gene expression, in addition to reductions in peripheral 5-HT. These observations emphasize the intrinsic limitation of interpreting data from studies conducted in transgenic mice that are not fully characterized.

PMID:
21464983
PMCID:
PMC3064573
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0017735
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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