Serotonin potentiates dopamine inhibition of ventral tegmental area neurons in vitro.J Neurophysiol 1996; 76(3):2077-82JN
1. The ventral tegmental area (VTA) has been implicated in both the rewarding effects of drugs of abuse and the etiology of schizophrenia. We report here that serotonin (5-HT) potentiates the inhibitory effect of dopamine on dopaminergic VTA neurons. Dopamine (0.5-10 microM) inhibited the spontaneous firing of putative dopamine-containing neurons of the VTA. 5-HT (5-10 microM) itself did not significantly alter the spontaneous firing rate; however, in the presence of 5-HT, the inhibitory potency of dopamine was significantly increased. 2. The inhibitory potency of the dopamine agonist quinpirole was also increased by 5-HT. 3. 5-HT-induced potentiation was also produced by the selective 5-HT2 agonist (+/-)-2,5-dimethoxy-4-iodoamphetamine, and was reversed by the selective 5-HT2 antagonist ketanserin. 4. This novel action of 5-HT on dopaminergic neurons has important implications for the development of drugs to treat schizophrenia, and for the identification of agents that will be useful in treating drug abuse disorders like alcoholism.