Hypoxia and epithelial stretch that are commonly observed in patients with acute lung injury have been shown to promote the release of serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT) in vitro. However, whether 5-HT contributes to the decrease of alveolar epithelial fluid transport, which is a hallmark of lung injury, is unknown. Thus, we investigated the effect of 5-HT on ion and fluid transport across the alveolar epithelium. 5-HT caused a dose-dependent inhibition of the amiloride-sensitive current across primary rat and human alveolar epithelial type II cell monolayers, but did not affect Na +/K+ ATPase function. Furthermore, we found that the 5-HT induced inhibition of ion transport across the lung epithelium was receptor independent, as it was not prevented by the blockade of 5-HT2R (5-HT receptor 2), 5-HT3R (5-HT receptor 3), or by pretreatment with an intracellular calcium-chelating agent, BAPTA-AM (1,2-bis(oaminophenoxy) ethane-N,N,N′, N′-tetraacetic acid tetra(acetoxymethyl) ester). In addition, the stimulation of 5-HT1R (5-HT receptor 1), 5-HT2R (5-HT receptor 2), 5-HT4R (5-HT receptor 4), and 5-HT7R (5-HT receptor 7) failed to reproduce the 5-HT effect on amiloride-sensitive sodium transport. We ascertained that 5-HT directly inhibited the function of rat abg epithelial sodium channel (ENaC), as determined by heterologous expression of rat ENaC in Xenopus oocytes that do not express endogenous ENaC nor 5-HT receptors (5-HTR). Exposure of mice to hypoxia for 1 hour induced a 30% increase of 5-HT secretion into the distal airways of mice. Finally, the intratracheal instillation of 5-HT inhibited the amiloride-sensitive fraction of alveolar fluid clearance in mice. Together, these results indicate that 5-HT inhibits the amiloride-sensitive fraction of the alveolar epithelial fluid transport via a direct interaction with ENaC, and thus can be an endogenous inhibitor of this ion channel.