Regulation of serotonin release by GABA and excitatory amino acids

J Psychopharmacol. 2000 Jun;14(2):100-13. doi: 10.1177/026988110001400201.


Regulation of serotonin release by gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and glutamate was examined by microdialysis in unanaesthetized rats. The GABA(A) receptor agonist muscimol, or the glutamate receptor agonists kainate, alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolaproprionate or N-methyl-D-aspartate were infused into the dorsal raphe nucleus (DRN) while extracellular serotonin was measured in the DRN and nucleus accumbens. Muscimol produced decreases, and the glutamate receptor agonists produced increases in serotonin. To determine if these receptors have a tonic influence on serotonergic neurons, glutamate or GABA(A) receptor antagonists were infused into the DRN. Kynurenate, a nonselective glutamate receptor blocker, produced a small, 30% decrease in serotonin. A similar decrease was obtained with combined infusion of AP-5 and DNQX into the DRN. The GABAA receptor blocker bicuculline produced an approximately three-fold increase in DRN serotonin. In conclusion, glutamate neurotransmitters have a weak tonic excitatory influence on serotonergic neurons in the rat DRN. However, the predominate influence is mediated by GABA(A) receptors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Chemistry / physiology*
  • Excitatory Amino Acids / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Rats
  • Receptors, GABA / drug effects
  • Receptors, GABA / metabolism
  • Receptors, Glutamate / drug effects
  • Serotonin / metabolism*
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / physiology*


  • Excitatory Amino Acids
  • Receptors, GABA
  • Receptors, Glutamate
  • Serotonin
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid