Effects of the selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor reboxetine
on norepinephrine and serotonin transmission in the rat hippocampus

Szabo ST, Blier P.
Neurobiological Psychiatry Unit,
McGill University, H3A 1A1,
Montreal, Canada.
Neuropsychopharmacology 2001 Dec; 25(6):845-57


Given that norepinephrine (NE) and serotonin (5-HT) neurons are implicated in the mechanisms of action of antidepressant drugs and both project to the hippocampus, the impact of acute and long-term administration of the selective NE inhibitor reboxetine was assessed on CA(3) pyramidal neuron firing in this postsynaptic structure. Cumulative injections of reboxetine (1-4 mg/kg, i.v.) dose-dependently increased the recovery time of the firing of these neurons following iontophoretic applications of NE, but not 5-HT. In rats treated with reboxetine for 2.5 mg/kg/day for 21 days, a robust increase in the recovery time following NE applications was observed, and a small but significant prolongation occurred following 5-HT applications. In controls and reboxetine-treated rats, 1 and 5 Hz stimulations of the afferent 5-HT bundle to the hippocampus, which allows determination of terminal 5-HT(1B) autoreceptor sensitivity, produced similar frequency-dependent decreases in pyramidal neuron firing in both groups. However, after low and high doses of clonidine (10 and 400 microg/kg, i.v.), which assesses alpha(2)-adrenergic auto- and heteroreceptor sensitivity, respectively, only the effect of the high dose of clonidine was attenuated. Interestingly, administration of the selective 5-HT(1A) receptor antagonist WAY 100,635 induced a 140% increase in basal pyramidal neuron firing in reboxetine as compared to saline-treated rats. This increase in tonic activation of postsynaptic 5-HT(1A) receptors might be attributable in part to a desensitization of alpha(2)-adrenergic heteroreceptors, presumably resulting from sustained NE reuptake inhibition. These results indicate that even a selective NE reuptake inhibitor can modulate 5-HT transmission.

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