Involvement of dorsal raphe nucleus and dorsal periaqueductal gray 5-HT receptors in the modulation of mouse defensive behaviors.Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 2011 Apr; 21(4):306-15.EN
Previous findings point to the involvement of the dorsal raphe nucleus (DRN) and dorsal periaqueductal gray (dPAG) serotonergic receptors in the mediation of defensive responses that are associated with specific subtypes of anxiety disorders. These studies have mostly been conducted with rats tested in the elevated T-maze, an experimental model of anxiety that was developed to allow the measurement, in the same animal, of two behaviors mentioned: inhibitory avoidance and one-way escape. Such behavioral responses have been respectively related to generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and panic disorder (PD). In order to assess the generality of these findings, in the current study we investigated the effects of the injection of 5-HT-related drugs into the DRN and dPAG of another rodent species, mouse, on the mouse defense test battery (MDTB), a test of a range of defensive behaviors to an unconditioned threat, a predator. Male CD-1 mice were tested in the MDTB after intra-DRN administration of the 5-HT(1A) receptor antagonist WAY-100635 or after intra-dPAG injection of two serotonergic agonists, the 5-HT(1A) receptor agonist 8-OH-DPAT and the 5-HT(2A/2C) receptor agonist DOI. Intra-DRN injection of WAY-100635 did not change behavioral responses of mice confronted with a rat in the MDTB. In the dPAG, both 8-OH-DPAT and DOI consistently impaired mouse escape behavior assessed in the MDTB. Intra-dPAG infusion of 8-OH-DPAT also decreased measures of mouse risk assessment in the rat exposure test. In conclusion, the current findings are in partial agreement with previous results obtained with rats tested in the elevated T-maze. Although there is a high level of similarity between the behavioral effects obtained in rats (elevated T-maze) and mice (MDTB and RET) with the infusion of 5-HT agonists into the dPAG, the same is not true regarding the effects of blockade of DRN 5-HT(1A) receptors in these rodent species. These data suggest that there may be differences between mice and rats regarding the involvement of the DRN in the mediation of defensive behaviors.