Effect of acute and chronic administration of buspirone on serotonin and benzodiazepine receptor subtypes in the rat brain: an autoradiographic study

Neuropharmacology. 1991 Apr;30(4):313-21. doi: 10.1016/0028-3908(91)90055-g.


The affinity of buspirone and its main metabolite 1-(2-pyrimidinyl)piperazine (PmP) for serotonin1 (5-HT1) and benzodiazepine receptors was first evaluated by computerized receptor autoradiography. The results confirmed that buspirone is a selective 5-HT1A ligand, since it inhibited the binding of [3H]5-HT with lower IC50 values (about 100 nM) in regions of the brain of the rat where this receptor subtype is predominant (such as hippocampal areas). Larger IC50 values than 3 microM were found in areas of the brain richer in 5-HT1 receptors, other than the 5-HT1A subtype (e.g. striatum, substantia nigra and the ventricles). The PmP was not selective, inhibiting the binding of [3H]5-HT with similar affinity (about 4-10 microM) in all the regions of the brain examined. Neither buspirone nor PmP, up to 100 microM, were active on benzodiazepine receptors. The autoradiographic technique was therefore used to evaluate the effects of acute (10 mg/kg, p.o., 1 hr before killing) and chronic (10 mg/kg, i.p., twice a day for 21 days, 24 hr washout) treatment with buspirone in male rats. Acute treatment reduced the binding of [3H]5-HT in all the regions of the brain studied, including those with low levels of 5-HT1A receptors, indicating the occupancy of 5-HT1 receptors by either buspirone or its metabolite. The binding of [3H]flunitrazepam was decreased (16%) only in the substantia nigra.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoradiography
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Buspirone / administration & dosage
  • Buspirone / pharmacology*
  • Flunitrazepam / metabolism
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Male
  • Radioligand Assay
  • Rats
  • Receptors, GABA-A / drug effects*
  • Receptors, GABA-A / metabolism
  • Receptors, Serotonin / metabolism
  • Serotonin Antagonists*
  • Time Factors


  • Receptors, GABA-A
  • Receptors, Serotonin
  • Serotonin Antagonists
  • Flunitrazepam
  • Buspirone