Background: Postnatal treatment with the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor fluoxetine, evokes anxiety and depressive behavior in rodent models in adulthood. We examined the role of serotonin 2A (5-HT2A), serotonin 2C (5-HT2C) and serotonin 1A (5-HT1A) receptors, implicated in the development of anxiety, in the behavioral consequences of postnatal fluoxetine (PNFlx).
Methods: Control and PNFlx rat pups received concomitant treatment with the 5-HT2A/C receptor antagonist, ketanserin, the 5-HT2A receptor antagonist, MDL100907, the 5-HT2C receptor antagonist, SB242084, or the 5-HT1A receptor antagonist, WAY-100635, and were tested for behavior in adulthood. The effect of postnatal treatment with the 5-HT2A/C receptor agonist, DOI, on anxiety behavior was examined in adulthood.
Results: Postnatal 5-HT2A/C receptor blockade prevented PNFlx-evoked anxiety, attenuated depressive behavior, and normalized specific gene expression changes in the prefrontal cortex. Postnatal, selective 5-HT2A receptor antagonist treatment blocked PNFlx-evoked anxiety and depressive behavior, whereas 5-HT2C receptor antagonist treatment prevented anxiety but not depressive behavior. Postnatal 5-HT2A/C receptor stimulation was sufficient to evoke anxiety in adulthood. Serotonin 1A receptor blockade did not alter PNFlx-evoked anxiety but resulted in anxiety in control animals, an effect attenuated by concomitant 5-HT2A/C receptor blockade.
Conclusions: Postnatal fluoxetine-evoked anxiety and depressive behavior, as well as specific gene expression changes in the prefrontal cortex, were prevented by 5-HT2A/C receptor blockade. Adult anxiety was evoked by either 5-HT2A/C receptor stimulation or 5-HT1A receptor blockade of naive control pups. Our findings implicate serotonin 2 receptors in the development of perturbed emotionality following PNFlx and suggest that an altered balance of signaling through 5-HT1A and 5-HT2A/C receptors in early life influences anxiety behavior.
Keywords: 5-HT(1A); 5-HT(2A); 5-HT(2C); Antidepressant; DOI; Prozac; SSRI; WAY-100635; ketanserin.
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