Serotoninergic mechanisms in hypertension. Focus on the effects of ketanserin.
Aggregating platelets release serotonin, which induces contraction of most vascular smooth muscle by activation of S2-serotoninergic receptors. Serotonin released in the circulation may contribute to the increase in peripheral resistance of hypertension as the responsiveness of blood vessels from hypertensive animals and humans to the vasoconstrictor action of the monoamine is augmented. The data obtained with the new antihypertensive agent ketanserin may favor that interpretation. Ketanserin is a selective S2-serotoninergic antagonist with additional alpha 1-adrenergic blocking properties. In humans, it has a terminal half-life of 12 to 25 hours and is eliminated predominantly by the liver. The hemodynamic profile of ketanserin is that of a vasodilator drug with actions on both resistance and capacitance vessels. On short-term intravenous administration, it lowers blood pressure in hypertensive patients with minimal reflex changes in cardiovascular function. When given orally long term to hypertensive patients, ketanserin causes a sustained reduction in arterial blood pressure, comparable to that obtained with either beta-adrenergic blockers or diuretics. Several studies have shown a greater efficacy in older (greater than 60 years of age) than in younger patients independent of starting pressure. Side effects mainly consist of dizziness, somnolence, and dry mouth, but they are usually not severe. The mechanism underlying the antihypertensive effect of ketanserin is unclear. It cannot be attributed to either S2-serotoninergic or alpha 1-adrenergic blockade alone, but an interaction between the two effects appears to be required.
- Copyright © 1988 by American Heart Association