Activation of Erk mitogen-activated protein kinase proteins by vascular serotonin receptors

J Cardiovasc Pharmacol. 2001 Oct;38(4):539-51. doi: 10.1097/00005344-200110000-00006.


We previously demonstrated that 5-hydroxytryptamine 2A (5-HT 2A ) receptor-mediated rat arterial contraction was dependent on activation of tyrosine kinases, including mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) kinase. In the current study, we examined arterial smooth muscle for the presence of serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT) 5-HT 1B, 5-HT 1D, 5-HT 1F, 5-HT 2A, 5-HT 2B, and 5-HT 7 receptor mRNA and hypothesized that, if present, activation of these receptors would stimulate the extracellular signal-regulated kinase (Erk) MAPK pathway and an Erk MAPK-dependent contraction. RT-PCR analyses of rat aortic smooth muscle cells, cultured and fresh, indicated the presence of 5-HT 1B, 5-HT 1D, 5-HT 1F, 5-HT 2A, 5-HT 2B, and 5-HT 7 receptor mRNA. The 5-HT 1B agonists RU24969 and CGS12066B, 5-HT 1B/1D/1F receptor agonist sumatriptan, and 5-HT 2B receptor agonist BW723C86 (10(-9) - 10(-4) M ) did not contract the aorta, nor did the 5-HT 7 receptor antagonist LY215840 leftward shift 5-HT-induced contraction. The 5-HT 1E/1F receptor agonist BRL54443 induced contraction, but this was abolished by the 5-HT 2A/2C receptor antagonist ketanserin (10 nM ); contraction was not observed with a different 5-HT 1F receptor agonist, LY344864. 5-HT and alpha-methyl-5-HT produced a concentration-dependent increase in Erk MAPK activity in cultured aortic smooth muscle cells and in aorta contracted with these agonists. All other agonists were inactive; a high concentration of BRL54443 (10 microM ) stimulated Erk MAPK activation (150% basal). Thus, while mRNA and possibly protein for multiple 5-HT receptors are present in aortic smooth muscle, only the 5-HT 2A receptor plays a significant role in directly modulating contractility and activating the Erk MAPK pathway.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aorta, Thoracic / drug effects
  • Aorta, Thoracic / enzymology
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Enzyme Activation / drug effects
  • Enzyme Activation / physiology
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Male
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism*
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular / drug effects
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular / enzymology*
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptors, Serotonin / physiology*
  • Serotonin Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Serotonin Receptor Agonists / pharmacology


  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, Serotonin
  • Serotonin Antagonists
  • Serotonin Receptor Agonists
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases