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This study investigated the effects of 8-OH-DPAT and various other 5-HT(1A) receptor agonists on brain noradrenergic transmission using Fos-like immunoreactivity (Fos-LI) as a marker of neural activation. Administration of 8-OH-DPAT (0.1 and 1 mg/kg) induced a marked and dose-related increase in the number of cells positive for Fos-LI in the locus coeruleus (LC), the main source of noradrenergic projections to the forebrain. This effect was also induced by the non-selective, partial 5-HT(1A) receptor agonist buspirone (10 mg/kg). The effect of both 8-OH-DPAT (0.1 mg/kg) and buspirone (10 mg/kg) on Fos-LI in the LC was blocked by pretreatment with the selective 5-HT(1A) receptor antagonist WAY 100635 (1 mg/kg). The active S(-)-enantiomer of the partial 5-HT(1A) receptor agonist (+/-)-MDL 75005EF (1 mg/kg) also induced the expression of Fos-LI in the LC, whereas the inactive R(+)-enantiomer of (+/-)-MDL 73005EF at the same dose did not. In addition to the LC, 8-OH-DPAT (0.1 mg/kg) also induced a marked increase in Fos-LI in various forebrain areas including the medial prefrontal cortex (infralimbic and cingulate cortical areas). More detailed analysis of the Fos response to 8-OH-DPAT in the medial prefrontal cortex revealed that the effect was attenuated by pretreatment with a combination of the beta(1)- and beta(2)-adrenoceptor antagonists ICI 118551 (4 mg/kg) and metoprolol (4 mg/kg), but not the alpha(1)-adrenoceptor antagonist prazosin (5 mg/kg). Taken together, the present findings provide immunocytochemical evidence that 5-HT(1A) receptor agonists activate noradrenergic neurones in the LC and that this leads to increased noradrenergic transmission at postsynaptic sites in the forebrain (specifically medial prefrontal cortex).

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





145 - 153


8-Hydroxy-2-(di-n-propylamino)tetralin, Adrenergic Fibers, Animals, Buspirone, Frontal Lobe, Locus Coeruleus, Male, Piperazines, Prosencephalon, Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-fos, Pyridines, Rats, Rats, Sprague-Dawley, Serotonin, Serotonin Antagonists, Serotonin Receptor Agonists, Synaptic Transmission