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Canadian Respiratory Journal
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 9064046, 10 pages
Research Article

The Role of Serotonin Transporter in Human Lung Development and in Neonatal Lung Disorders

1Department of Pathology & Immunology, Texas Children’s Hospital, Baylor College of Medicine, 6621 Fannin St. MC-1195, Houston, TX 77030, USA
2Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine, 6621 Fannin St. MC-1195, Houston, TX 77030, USA
3Department of Pathology, Magee Women’s Hospital, UPMC, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA
4Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Children’s Hospital Colorado, University School of Medicine of Colorado, 13123 East 16th Avenue, P.O. Box 120, Aurora, CO 80045, USA

Correspondence should be addressed to C. Galambos

Received 6 October 2016; Revised 8 December 2016; Accepted 10 January 2017; Published 20 February 2017

Academic Editor: Elie El Agha

Copyright © 2017 E. C. C. Castro et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Introduction. Failure of the vascular pulmonary remodeling at birth often manifests as pulmonary hypertension (PHT) and is associated with a variety of neonatal lung disorders including a uniformly fatal developmental disorder known as alveolar capillary dysplasia with misalignment of pulmonary veins (ACD/MPV). Serum serotonin regulation has been linked to pulmonary vascular function and disease, and serotonin transporter (SERT) is thought to be one of the key regulators in these processes. We sought to find evidence of a role that SERT plays in the neonatal respiratory adaptation process and in the pathomechanism of ACD/MPV. Methods. We used histology and immunohistochemistry to determine the timetable of SERT protein expression in normal human fetal and postnatal lungs and in cases of newborn and childhood PHT of varied etiology. In addition, we tested for a SERT gene promoter defect in ACD/MPV patients. Results. We found that SERT protein expression begins at 30 weeks of gestation, increases to term, and stays high postnatally. ACD/MPV patients had diminished SERT expression without SERT promoter alteration. Conclusion. We concluded that SERT/serotonin pathway is crucial in the process of pulmonary vascular remodeling/adaptation at birth and plays a key role in the pathobiology of ACD/MPV.