5-HT1A receptors of the lateral septum regulate inhibitory avoidance but not escape behavior in rats.Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2008 May; 89(3):360-6.PB
Serotonin in the lateral septum (LS) has been implicated in the modulation of defensive behaviors and in anxiety. However, it is currently unknown whether changes in 5-HT mechanisms in this brain area may selectively affect defensive responses associated with specific subtypes of anxiety disorders recognized in clinical settings. To address this question, we evaluated the effect of the intra-LS injection of the 5-HT(1A/7) receptor agonist 8-OH-DPAT (0.6, 3.0, 15.0 nmol) in male Wistar rats exposed to the elevated T-maze animal model of anxiety. This test allows the measurement of two behavioral defensive responses in the same rat: inhibitory avoidance and escape behavior. In clinical terms, these responses have been respectively related to generalized anxiety and panic disorder. The effects of 8-OH-DPAT were compared to those caused by a standard anxiolytic compound, the benzodiazepine receptor agonist midazolam (MDZ, 20 nmol). We also investigated whether the intra-LS injection of the 5-HT(1A) receptor antagonist WAY-100635 (0.37 nmol) was able to block the effects of 8-OH-DPAT. All animals were also tested in an open field for locomotor activity assessments. Results showed that whereas intra-LS administration of MDZ decreased avoidance latencies, suggesting an anxiolytic action, 8-OH-DPAT caused the opposite effect. Neither drug affected the escape performance. Intra-LS administration of WAY-100635 blocked the anxiogenic effect caused by 8-OH-DPAT. No changes to locomotion were detected in the open field. The data suggests that LS 5-HT(1A) receptors are involved in the control of inhibitory avoidance behavior and that a failure in this regulatory mechanism may be of importance to the physiopathology of generalized anxiety disorder.