Serotonin-induced vascular permeability is mediated by transient receptor potential vanilloid 4 in the airways and upper gastrointestinal tract of mice

Jeffri S. Retamal, Megan S. Grace, Larissa K. Dill, Paulina Ramirez-Garcia, Scott Peng, Arisbel B. Gondin, Felix Bennetts, Sadia Alvi, Pradeep Rajasekhar, Juhura G. Almazi, Simona E. Carbone, Nigel W. Bunnett, Thomas P. Davis, Nicholas A. Veldhuis, Daniel P. Poole, Peter McIntyre

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Endothelial and epithelial cells form physical barriers that modulate the exchange of fluid and molecules. The integrity of these barriers can be influenced by signaling through G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) and ion channels. Serotonin (5-HT) is an important vasoactive mediator of tissue edema and inflammation. However, the mechanisms that drive 5-HT-induced plasma extravasation are poorly defined. The Transient Receptor Potential Vanilloid 4 (TRPV4) ion channel is an established enhancer of signaling by GPCRs that promote inflammation and endothelial barrier disruption. Here, we investigated the role of TRPV4 in 5-HT-induced plasma extravasation using pharmacological and genetic approaches. Activation of either TRPV4 or 5-HT receptors promoted significant plasma extravasation in the airway and upper gastrointestinal tract of mice. 5-HT-mediated extravasation was significantly reduced by pharmacological inhibition of the 5-HT2A receptor subtype, or with antagonism or deletion of TRPV4, consistent with functional interaction between 5-HT receptors and TRPV4. Inhibition of receptors for the neuropeptides substance P (SP) or calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) diminished 5-HT-induced plasma extravasation. Supporting studies assessing treatment of HUVEC with 5-HT, CGRP, or SP was associated with ERK phosphorylation. Exposure to the TRPV4 activator GSK1016790A, but not 5-HT, increased intracellular Ca2+ in these cells. However, 5-HT pre-treatment enhanced GSK1016790A-mediated Ca2+ signaling, consistent with sensitization of TRPV4. The functional interaction was further characterized in HEK293 cells expressing 5-HT2A to reveal that TRPV4 enhances the duration of 5-HT-evoked Ca2+ signaling through a PLA2 and PKC-dependent mechanism. In summary, this study demonstrates that TRPV4 contributes to 5-HT2A-induced plasma extravasation in the airways and upper GI tract, with evidence supporting a mechanism of action involving SP and CGRP release.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)851-864
Number of pages14
JournalLaboratory Investigation
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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