Role of 5-HT1B, 5-HT2A and 5-HT2C receptors in the generalization of 5-HT receptor agonists to the ethanol cue in the rat.Behav Pharmacol. 1998 Jul; 9(4):337-43.BP
Although accumulating evidence suggests that serotonergic drugs are able to substitute for the ethanol (EtOH) cue in rats, it is still unclear which 5-HT receptor subtypes are responsible for this phenomenon, and whether these receptors are critically involved in the EtOH cue. In the present study, rats were trained to discriminate EtOH (1000 mg/kg, i.p., t-15 min) from saline in a two-lever food-reinforced procedure, and it was investigated to which extent serotonergic compounds with a certain level of specificity for either 5-HT1B, 5-HT2A or 5-HT2C receptors generalized to the EtOH cue. Subsequently, the involvement of these receptor subtypes was ascertained by the use of selected 5-HT receptor antagonists. The 5-HT1B receptor agonist CP 94,253 (0.3-5 mg/kg, i.p.) and the mixed 5-HT(2C/1B) receptor agonist mCPP (0.1-1 mg/kg, i.p.), but not the preferential 5-HT2A receptor agonist DOI (0.3-1 mg/kg, i.p.), completely generalized to the EtOH cue. Complete generalization of the former two compounds coincided with a decrease in response rate. In antagonism studies, it was shown that the 5-HT1B receptor antagonist GR 127935 (10 mg/kg, i.p.) completely blocked generalization of CP 94,253 to the EtOH cue, suggesting that stimulation of 5-HT1B receptors produces discriminative stimulus effects which are similar to those of EtOH. GR 127935 (10 mg/kg, i.p.), as well as the mixed 5-HT(1B/2C) receptor antagonist metergoline (1 mg/kg, i.p.), and the 5-HT2C receptor antagonist SB 206,553 (1 mg/kg, i.p.) completely blocked generalization of mCPP to the EtOH cue. This suggests that 5-HT1B and 5-HT2C receptors are required for the generalization of mCPP to the EtOH cue. The present findings indicate that activation of 5-HT1B and 5-HT2C, but not of 5-HT2A receptors, mimics the EtOH cue. However, the finding that neither metergoline, nor the 5-HT2A receptor antagonist MDL 100,907 blocked the EtOH cue, suggests that these receptors play only a minor role in the discriminative stimulus effects of a moderately low dose of EtOH.