One-month serotonin infusion results in a prolonged fall in blood pressure in the deoxycorticosterone acetate (DOCA) salt hypertensive rat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


External Institution(s)

  • Michigan State University


Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-148
Number of pages8
JournalACS Chemical Neuroscience
Issue number1
StatusPublished - Jan 16 2013


A 7-day infusion of serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT) causes a sustained fall in elevated blood pressure in the male deoxycorticosterone acetate (DOCA)-salt rat. As hypertension is a long-term disease, we presently test the hypothesis that a longer (30 day) 5-HT infusion could cause a sustained fall in blood pressure in the established hypertensive DOCA-salt rat. This time period (∼4 weeks) was also sufficient to test whether 5-HT could attenuate the development of DOCA-salt hypertension. 5-HT (25 μg/kg/min; sc) or vehicle (Veh) was delivered via osmotic pump to (1) established DOCA-salt rats for one month, (2) Sprague-Dawley rats prior to DOCA-salt administration for one month, and blood pressure and heart rate measured telemetrically. On the final day of 5-HT infusion, free platelet poor plasma 5-HT concentrations were significantly higher in 5-HT versus Veh-infused rats, and mean arterial pressure was significantly lower in 5-HT-infused (135 ± 4 mmHg vs Veh-infused 151 ± 7 mmHg) established DOCA-salt rats. By contrast, 5-HT-infusion did not prevent the development of DOCA-salt hypertension (144 ± 7 mmHg vs Veh = 156 ± 6 mmHg). Isometric contraction of aortic strips was measured, and neither the potency nor maximum contraction to the alpha adrenergic receptor agonist phenylephrine (PE) or 5-HT were modified by infusion of 5-HT (established or preventative infusion), and maximum aortic relaxation to acetylcholine (ACh) was modestly but not significantly enhanced (∼15% improvement). This study demonstrates 5-HT is capable of lowering blood pressure in established DOCA-salt hypertensive rats over the course of one month in a mechanism that does not significantly modify or is dependent on modified vascular responsiveness. This finding opens the possibility that elevation of 5-HT levels could be useful in the treatment of hypertension.

    Research areas

  • 5-HT, blood pressure, hypertension, vascular reactivity