Inhibition of suckling in weaning-age rats: a possible serotonergic mechanism.
The nature, development, and specificity of serotonergic involvement in the control of suckling behavior in rat pups from 10 to 35 days of age were studied. During development, suckling normally declines after 10 days and is abandoned after 30 days. It was found that (a) methysergide, a serotonin (5-HT) receptor blocker, reinstated suckling behavior in pups 15 days of age and older but had no effect on the suckling of 10-day old pups, (b) quipazine, a 5-HT receptor agonist, inhibited suckling of pups 10 days of age and older, (c) methysergide pretreatment blocked the quipazine inhibition of suckling, and (d) metergoline, another 5-HT blocker, also stimulated suckling, and fenfluramine, a 5-HT releaser, blocked suckling in deprived pups. Together, these data support the hypothesis that a serotonergic inhibitory mechanism modulates the suckling of weaning-age rats. These pharmacological manipulations of 5-HT appear to alter specific components of suckling behavior involved in its initiation and maintenance but do not appear to alter a general hunger system.
Williams, CL; Rosenblatt, JS; Hall, WG
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