Serotonin is a key factor for mouse red blood cell survival.

PloS one (2013-12-21)
Pascal Amireault, Elisa Bayard, Jean-Marie Launay, David Sibon, Caroline Le Van Kim, Yves Colin, Michel Dy, Olivier Hermine, Francine Côté

Serotonin (5-HT) is a monoamine originally purified from blood as a vasoactive agent. In nonneuronal tissues, its presence is linked with the expression of tryptophan hydroxylase 1 (TPH1) that catalyzes the rate-limiting step of its synthesis. Targeted disruption in mice of the TPH1 gene results in very low levels of circulating 5-HT. Previous analysis of the TPH1 knockout (TPH1(-/-)) mouse revealed that they develop a phenotype of macrocytic anemia with a reduced half-life of their circulating red blood cells (RBC). In this study, to establish whether the observed reduced half-life of TPH1(-/-) RBC is an intrinsic or an extrinsic characteristic, we compared their survival to RBC isolated from wild-type mice. Both in vivo and in vitro data converge to demonstrate an extrinsic protective effect of 5-HT since presence of 5-HT in the RBC environment protects RBC from senescence. The protective effect played by 5-HT is not mediated through activation of a classical pharmacological pathway as no 5-HT receptors were detected on isolated RBC. Rather, 5-HT acts as an effective antioxidant since reduction of 5-HT circulating levels are associated with a decrease in the plasma antioxidant capacity. We further demonstrate a link between oxidation and the removal of damaged RBC following transfusion, as supplementation with 5-HT improves RBC post-transfusion survival in a mouse model of blood banking.

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