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Here we have used the brain microdialysis method to test the effect of the 5-HT precursor L-tryptophan on 5-HT release. The release of endogenous 5-HT was measured in ventral hippocampus of the anesthetized rat both under basal conditions and when serotoninergic neuronal activity was raised by electrical stimulation of the dorsal raphe nucleus (DRN). Low frequency electrical stimulation of the DRN evoked a frequency-dependent (2-10 Hz) release of hippocampal 5-HT. The electrically evoked release of 5-HT was markedly enhanced by pretreatment with L-tryptophan (50 and 100 mg/kg i.p.). The effect of L-tryptophan on evoked release of 5-HT was dose-related, detectable at low (2 Hz) stimulation frequencies, and became stronger as the stimulation frequency increased. L-Tryptophan (10, 50 and 100 mg/kg i.p.) had no effect on basal output of 5-HT. We conclude from these findings that elevation of 5-HT precursor availability increases 5-HT release in hippocampus in vivo under conditions of increased serotoninergic neuronal activity.


Journal article


Life Sci

Publication Date





1215 - 1223


Animals, Dialysis, Dose-Response Relationship, Drug, Electric Stimulation, Hippocampus, Male, Neurons, Raphe Nuclei, Rats, Rats, Inbred Strains, Serotonin, Tryptophan