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1. Selective 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT; serotonin) reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) cause a greater increase in extracellular 5-HT in the forebrain when the somatodendritic 5-HT1A autoreceptor is blocked. Here, we investigated whether blockade of the terminal 5-HT1B autoreceptor influences a selective 5-HT reuptake inhibitor in the same way, and whether there is an additional effect of blocking both the 5-HT1A and 5-HT1B autoreceptors. 2. Extracellular 5-HT was measured in frontal cortex of the anaesthetized rat by use of brain microdialysis. In vivo extracellular recordings of 5-HT neuronal activity in the dorsal raphe nucleus (DRN) were also carried out. 3. The selective 5-HT reuptake inhibitor, paroxetine (0.8 mg kg-1, i.v.), increased extracellular 5-HT about 2 fold in rats pretreated with the 5-HT1A receptor antagonist, WAY100635. When administered alone neither paroxetine (0.8 mg kg-1, i.v.) nor WAY100635 (0.1 mg kg-1, i.v.) altered extracellular 5-HT levels. 4. Paroxetine (0.8 mg kg-1, i.v.) did not increase 5-HT in rats pretreated with the 5-HT1B/D receptor antagonist, GR127935 (1 mg kg-1, i.v.). GR127935 (1 and 5 mg kg-1, i.v.) had no effect on extracellular 5-HT when administered alone. 5. Interestingly, paroxetine (0.8 mg kg-1, i.v.) caused the greatest increase in 5-HT (up to 5 fold) when GR127935 (1 or 5 mg kg-1, i.v.) was administered in combination with WAY100635 (0.1 mg kg-1, i.v.). Administration of GR127935 (5 mg kg-1, i.v.) plus WAY100635 (0.1 mg kg-1, i.v.) without paroxetine, had no effect on extracellular 5-HT in the frontal cortex. 6. Despite the lack of effect of GR127935 on 5-HT under basal conditions, when 5-HT output was elevated about 3 fold (by adding 1 microM paroxetine to the perfusion medium), the drug caused a dose-related (1 and 5 mg kg-1, i.v.) increase in 5-HT. 7. By itself, GR127935 slightly but significantly decreased 5-HT cell firing in the DRN at higher doses (2.0-5.0 mg kg-1, i.v.), but did not prevent the inhibition of 5-HT cell firing induced by paroxetine. 8. In summary, our results suggest that selective 5-HT reuptake inhibitors may cause a large increase in 5-HT in the frontal cortex when 5-HT autoreceptors on both the somatodendrites (5-HT1A) and nerve terminals (5-HT1B) are blocked. This increase is greater than when either set of autoreceptors are blocked separately. The failure of a 5-HT1B receptor antagonist alone to enhance the effect of the selective 5-HT reuptake inhibitor in our experiments may be related to a lack of tone on the terminal 5-HT1B autoreceptor due to a continued inhibition of 5-HT cell firing. These results are discussed in relation to the use of 5-HT autoreceptor antagonists to augment the antidepressant effect of selective 5-HT reuptake inhibitors.

Original publication




Journal article


Br J Pharmacol

Publication Date





941 - 946


Animals, Electrophysiology, Extracellular Space, Male, Microdialysis, Neurons, Oxadiazoles, Paroxetine, Piperazines, Prefrontal Cortex, Pyridines, Rats, Rats, Sprague-Dawley, Serotonin, Serotonin Antagonists, Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors, Stereotaxic Techniques