Serotonin risk factors for the development of hypertension in pregnancy



To determine platelet serotonin (5-HT) concentrations and genotype and allele frequencies of serotonergic type 2A receptor gene (HTR2A) and 5-HT transporter gene (SLC6A4) in women with pre-eclampsia, gestational hypertension without proteinuria (PIH) and in control normotensive pregnant women.


The study included 96 control women, 131 women with PIH and 84 women with pre-eclampsia (ICD-10 criteria) in the last trimester of pregnancy. Variants of the HTR2A T102C (rs6313) and SLC6A4 (5-HTTLPR and rs25531) were determined by the PCR and real-time PCR procedures. Platelet 5-HT concentrations were analyzed by the spectrofluorimetric method.


The frequency of the 5HTTLPR and of HTR2A T102C genotypes or alleles was similar between three groups of pregnant women and was not associated with low platelet 5-HT concentrations observed in pregnant women with PIH or pre-eclampsia.


The results confirm alterations in the peripheral 5-HT system in pregnancy-induced hypertension. Low platelet 5-HT concentration is a common feature of both PIH and pre-eclampsia. The results did not support the hypothesis that hypertension in pregnancy is a trait associated with polymorphic variants of the HTR2A and SLC6A4 or that they have a role in the predisposition to hypertensive disorders in pregnancy. The further studies are necessary to elucidate the role of 5-HT and genetic factors in the development of hypertensive disorders in pregnancy.

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The study was supported by the Croatian Ministry of Science, Technology and Education Grants No. 098-0982522-2457 (D. M-S.) and 098-0982522-2455 (N. P.). Thanks are due to the personnel of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University Hospital Sisters of Mercy, Zagreb and Gordana Nedic Erjavec Ph.D. and Matea Nikolac Perkovic, B.Sc. for their assistance in the biochemical analysis.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest.

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Dorotea Muck-Seler.

Additional information

S. Sabolovic Rudman, M. Mustapic equally contributed to this work.

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Sabolovic Rudman, S., Mustapic, M., Kosec, V. et al. Serotonin risk factors for the development of hypertension in pregnancy. Arch Gynecol Obstet 291, 779–785 (2015).

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  • Platelet serotonin
  • Pre-eclampsia
  • Pregnancy-induced hypertension
  • Serotonin transporter gene
  • Serotonin 2A receptor gene