Serotonin-2C receptors in the basolateral nucleus of the amygdala mediate the anxiogenic effect of acute imipramine and fluoxetine administration.Int J Neuropsychopharmacol. 2012 Apr; 15(3):389-400.IJ
A growing body of evidence indicates that facilitation of serotonin-2C receptor (5-HT2CR)-mediated neurotransmission in the basolateral nucleus of the amygdala (BLA) is involved in anxiety generation. We investigated here whether BLA 5-HT2CRs exert a differential role in the regulation of defensive behaviours related to generalized anxiety (inhibitory avoidance) and panic (escape) disorders. We also evaluated whether activation of BLA 5-HT2CRs accounts for the anxiogenic effect caused by acute systemic administration of the antidepressants imipramine and fluoxetine. Male Wistar rats were tested in the elevated T-maze after intra-BLA injection of the endogenous agonist 5-HT, the 5-HT2CR agonist MK-212 or the 5-HT2CR antagonist SB-242084. This test allows the measurement of inhibitory avoidance acquisition and escape expression. We also investigated whether intra-BLA administration of SB-242084 interferes with the acute anxiogenic effect caused by imipramine and fluoxetine in the Vogel conflict test, and imipramine in the elevated T-maze. While intra-BLA administration of 5-HT and MK-212 facilitated inhibitory avoidance acquisition, suggesting an anxiogenic effect, SB-242084 had the opposite effect. None of these drugs affected escape performance. Intra-BLA injection of a sub-effective dose of SB-242084 fully blocked the anxiogenic effect caused either by the local microinjection of 5-HT or the systemic administration of imipramine and fluoxetine. Our findings indicate that 5-HT2CRs in BLA are selectively involved in the regulation of defensive behaviours associated with generalized anxiety, but not panic. The results also provide the first direct evidence that activation of BLA 5-HT2CRs accounts for the short-term aversive effect of antidepressants.