Adolescent male rats are less sensitive than adults to the anxiogenic and serotonin-releasing effects of fenfluramine.
Risk taking behavior increases during adolescence, which is also a critical period for the onset of drug abuse. The central serotonergic system matures during the adolescent period, and its immaturity during early adolescence may contribute to adolescent risk taking, as deficits in central serotonergic function have been associated with impulsivity, aggression, and risk taking. We investigated serotonergic modulation of behavior and presynaptic serotonergic function in adult (67-74 days old) and adolescent (28-34 days old) male rats. Fenfluramine (2 mg/kg, i.p.) produced greater anxiogenic effects in adult rats in both the light/dark and elevated plus maze tests for anxiety-like behavior, and stimulated greater increases in extracellular serotonin in the adult medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) (1, 2.5, and 10 mg/kg, i.p.). Local infusion of 100 mM potassium chloride into the mPFC also stimulated greater serotonin efflux in adult rats. Adult rats had higher tissue serotonin content than adolescents in the prefrontal cortex, amygdala, and hippocampus, but the rate of serotonin synthesis was similar between age groups. Serotonin transporter (SERT) immunoreactivity and SERT radioligand binding were comparable between age groups in all three brain regions. These data suggest that lower tissue serotonin stores in adolescents limit fenfluramine-stimulated serotonin release and so contribute to the lesser anxiogenic effects of fenfluramine.
Arrant, AE; Jemal, H; Kuhn, CM
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