Objective: The serotonergic system is implicated in the pathophysiology of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). However, the distinct role of serotonin (5-HT) receptor subtypes remains unclear. This study investigates the contribution of 5-HT2A and 5-HT2C receptors in the modulation of persistence in the reinforced spatial alternation model of OCD.
Methods: Male Wistar rats were assessed for spontaneous and pharmacologically induced (by m-chlorophenylpiperazine: mCPP) directional persistence in the reinforced alternation OCD model. Systemic administration of mCPP (non-specific 5-HT agonist, 2.5mg/kg), M100907 (selective 5-HT2A receptor antagonist, 0.08 mg/kg), SB242084 (selective 5-HT2C receptor antagonist, 0.5 mg/kg) and vehicle was used. Experiment 1 investigated M100907 and SB242084 effects in animals spontaneously exhibiting high and low persistence during the early stages of alternation training. Experiment 2 investigated M100900 and SB242084 effects on mCPP-induced persistence.
Results: Under the regime used in Experiment 1, 5-HT2A or 5-HT2C receptor antagonism did not affect spontaneous directional persistence in either high or low persistence groups. In Experiment 2, 5-HT2C but not 5-HT2A receptor antagonism significantly reduced, but did not abolish, mCPP-induced directional persistence.
Conclusions: These findings suggest that 5-HT2C but not 5-HT2A receptors contribute to the modulation of mCPP-induced persistent behaviour, raising the possibility that the use of 5-HT2C antagonists may have a therapeutic value in OCD.
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