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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Effects on spontaneous and cocaine-induced behavior of pharmacological inhibition of noradrenergic and serotonergic systems.

Cocaine-induced increases in dopamine (DA) contribute importantly to cocaine effects on behavior but, the role of concomitant increases in norepinephrine (NE) and serotonin (5-HT) is less well understood. In order to selectively block the increases in NE and 5-HT evoked by cocaine, autoreceptor preferring low doses (0.01, 0.025 and 0.05 mg/kg) of the a2 agonist, Clonidine or the 5-HT1A agonist, 8-OHDPAT were given as pretreatments 20 min prior to saline or cocaine (10.0 mg/kg) in separate groups of rats (N=10). With pharmacological stimulation of NE and 5-HT autoreceptors, release of these neurotransmitters would be suppressed and, therefore, less available for re-uptake blockade by cocaine. With increasing dose levels, Clonidine had marked inhibitory effects on spontaneous and cocaine-induced locomotion, grooming and rearing. 8-OHDPAT pretreatment also suppressed spontaneous locomotion, grooming and rearing; but, in contrast, did not reduce the cocaine locomotor stimulant effects. 8-OHDPAT, however, did suppress central zone entry and rearing in cocaine treated rats. Using ex vivo methods, we found that 8-OHDPAT selectively reduced 5-HT metabolism in the medial frontal cortex (MFC) and subcortical limbic brain. Clonidine selectively reduced NE metabolism in the MFC, but decreased both DA and 5-HT metabolism in the subcortical limbic brain without affecting NE metabolism. This diverse and broad spectrum of Clonidine effects upon neurotransmitters and behavior is striking and points-up the important, complex and integrative role of NE in brain function. While both Clonidine and 8-OHDPAT can substantially attenuate a number of cocaine behavioral effects, these inhibitory effects appear to be secondary to reductions in the behavioral baseline rather than reversals of cocaine effects.[1]


  1. Effects on spontaneous and cocaine-induced behavior of pharmacological inhibition of noradrenergic and serotonergic systems. Carey, R.J., DePalma, G., Shanahan, A., Damianopoulos, E.N., Müller, C.P., Huston, J.P. Pharmacol. Biochem. Behav. (2008) [Pubmed]
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