This study was conducted to determine if an oral squamous cell carcinoma alters mRNA expression of serotonin transporter (5-HTT) in the central nervous system. KB cell line derived from a human oral squamous cell carcinoma was inoculated into nude mice, and mRNA expression level of 5-HTT in the dorsal raphe nucleus (DRN) was examined by in situ hybridization when the tumor mass reached to -10% of total body weight. Plasma leptin levels were determined by radioimmunoassay method using a commercial kit. 5-HTT mRNA level was significantly decreased in the DRN of tumor bearing mice, compared to the age-matching non-tumor control. Plasma leptin level decreased concomitantly in tumor bearing mice. These results suggest that oral carcinoma may suppress 5-HTT gene expression in the central nervous system, perhaps in relation with decreased plasma leptin level.
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