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1 August 2005 Serotonin and Its Antidepressant-Sensitive Transport in Mouse Cumulus-Oocyte Complexes and Early Embryos
Pascal Amireault, François Dubé
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Serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine [5-HT]), is a neurohormone found in various nonneural tissues, including the gonads of many invertebrates, in which it regulates spawning and oocyte meiotic maturation. The possibility that a local serotonergic network might also exist in the female gonads of vertebrate species, including mammals, remains poorly documented. To clarify this possibility, we investigated mouse cumulus cells, oocytes, and embryos for three key serotonergic components, namely, 5-HT itself; the rate-limiting enzyme for its production, tryptophan hydroxylase 1 (TPH1); and the 5-HT-specific transporter (SLC6A4) required for modulating its cellular effects. Using a combination of reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction analysis and immunofluorescence confocal microscopy, we showed that mouse cumulus cells, oocytes, and embryos contain 5-HT and SLC6A4, while only cumulus cells possess the 5-HT-producing enzyme TPH1 and may thus be the local source of 5-HT observed in their neighboring cells. With a semiquantitative assay in single cells, we demonstrated that 5-HT can actively be taken up by isolated oocytes when it is supplied exogenously in vitro. This 5-HT transport in isolated oocytes is driven by a classical serotonin transporter, expressed up to the blastocyst stage, that is sensitive to the antidepressants fluoxetine and fluvoxamine, which belong to the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor family. All together, our results show that 5-HT may be produced locally by cumulus cells and that it can be actively taken up by mammalian oocytes and embryos as part of a likely larger serotonergic network possibly regulating various developmental processes much earlier than previously thought.

Pascal Amireault and François Dubé "Serotonin and Its Antidepressant-Sensitive Transport in Mouse Cumulus-Oocyte Complexes and Early Embryos," Biology of Reproduction 73(2), 358-365, (1 August 2005).
Received: 3 January 2005; Accepted: 1 April 2005; Published: 1 August 2005

cumulus cells
oocyte development
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