Functional and pharmacological characterization of the modulatory role of serotonin on the firing activity of locus coeruleus norepinephrine neurons.
Previous studies, using in vivo extracellular unitary recordings in anaesthetized rats, have shown that the selective 5-HT(1A) receptor antagonist WAY 100,635 suppressed the firing rate of locus coeruleus (LC) norepinephrine (NE) neurons and that this effect was abolished by lesioning 5-HT neurons. In the present experiments, the selective 5-HT(2A) receptor antagonist MDL 100,907, while having no effect on the spontaneous firing activity of LC neurons in controls, was able to restore NE neuronal discharges following the injection of WAY 100,635. The 5-HT(1A) receptor agonist 8-OH-DPAT enhanced the firing activity of NE neurons and this action was entirely dependent on intact 5-HT neurons, unlike the inhibitory effect of the 5-HT(2) receptor agonist DOI. Taken together, these data indicate that 5-HT(2A) but not 5-HT(1A) receptors controlling LC firing activity are postsynaptic to 5-HT neurons. Prolonged, but not subacute, administration of selective 5-HT reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) produces a decrease in the spontaneous firing activity of LC NE neurons. MDL 100,907 partially reversed this suppressed firing activity of LC neurons in paroxetine-treated rats. Although the alpha(2)-adrenoceptor antagonist idazoxan also enhanced the firing activity of NE neurons in paroxetine-treated rats, this increase was similar to that obtained in controls. In conclusion, prolonged SSRI treatment enhances a tonic inhibitory influence by 5-HT on LC neurons through postsynaptic 5-HT(2A) receptors that are not located on NE neurons. A speculative neuronal circuitry accounting for these phenomena on LC NE activity is proposed.
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