Serotonin Uptake Is Largely Mediated by Platelets versus Lymphocytes in Peripheral Blood Cells
The serotonin transporter (SERT), a primary target for many antidepressants, is expressed in the brain and also in peripheral blood cells. Although platelet SERT function is well accepted, lymphocyte SERT function has not been definitively characterized. Due to their small size, platelets often are found in peripheral blood mononuclear cell preparations aimed at isolating lymphocytes, monocytes, and macrophages. The presence of different cells makes it difficult to assign SERT expression and function to specific cell types. Here, we use flow cytometry and IDT307, a monoamine transporter substrate that fluoresces after uptake into cells, to investigate SERT function in lymphocyte and platelet populations independently, as well as simultaneously without prior isolation. We find that murine lymphocytes exhibit temperature-dependent IDT307 transport but uptake is independent of SERT. Lack of measurable SERT function in lymphocytes was corroborated by chronoamperometry using serotonin as a substrate. When we examined rhesus and human mixed blood cell populations, we found that platelets, and not lymphocytes, were primary contributors to SERT function. Overall, these findings indicate that lymphocyte SERT function is minimal. Moreover, flow cytometry, in conjunction with the fluorescent transporter substrate IDT307, can be widely applied to investigate SERT in platelets from populations of clinical significance.
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