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

Buspirone, but not sumatriptan, induces miosis in humans: relevance for a serotoninergic pupil control.

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Drugs that act on the serotoninergic system have been shown to influence the pupil size. However, the 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) receptor type or subtype that affects pupil diameter has not been defined in humans. With a placebo-controlled, double-blind randomized design, we investigated in healthy volunteers the effect on pupil size of buspirone and sumatriptan, which mainly act on 5-HT1A- and the 5-HT1-like receptors, respectively. METHODS: The pupil area was measured by means of a videopupillometer before and after a single oral administration of placebo or of three different doses of active drugs. Heart rate and arterial blood pressure were recorded after pupil area measurement. RESULTS: Buspirone (5, 10, and 20 mg) caused a dose-dependent miosis. Sumatriptan (50, 100, and 200 mg) did not affect the pupil size. Twenty milligrams of buspirone reduced the mydriasis induced by pretreatment with homatropine eyedrops. A 20 mg dose of buspirone reduced blood pressure without change in heart rate, whereas buspirone, at doses lower than 20 mg, and sumatriptan did not affect heart rate and blood pressure. CONCLUSIONS: This study suggests that buspirone, but not sumatriptan, the selective agonist of 5-HT1-like receptors, causes miosis in humans by activation of 5-HT1A receptors, possibly located in the central nervous system where they inhibit iris sympathetic pathways. Measurement of pupil size seems to provide a valuable and sensitive index of 5-HT1A receptor function in humans.[1]


  1. Buspirone, but not sumatriptan, induces miosis in humans: relevance for a serotoninergic pupil control. Fanciullacci, M., Sicuteri, R., Alessandri, M., Geppetti, P. Clin. Pharmacol. Ther. (1995) [Pubmed]
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