Identifying the In Vivo Cellular Correlates of Antipsychotic Drugs

eNeuro. 2018 Dec 7;5(5):ENEURO.0220-18.2018. doi: 10.1523/ENEURO.0220-18.2018. eCollection 2018 Sep-Oct.


GPCRs such as 5-HT2A and D2 are implicated in the therapeutic and the side effects of antipsychotics. However, the pattern of brain activity that leads to the behavioral effects of antipsychotics is poorly understood. To address this question, we used the transgenic 'FosTRAP' mice (Mus musculus), where a fluorescent reporter marks the cells responsive to the stimulus of interest. Here, the stimulus was an administration of various antipsychotic drugs. In case of typical antipsychotics such as Haloperidol, the c-fos active cells were predominantly found in the striatum, whereas in case of the atypical antipsychotics (Clozapine and Olanzapine), c-fos-induced cells were more numerous in the cortical regions, e.g., orbital cortex, piriform cortex. Curiously, we also observed ependymal cells to be a novel cellular target of atypical antipsychotics. 5-HT2A is considered to be a major target for atypical antipsychotics. Therefore, we bred 'FosTRAP' mice with 5-HT2A knock-out (KO) mice and tested their response to the prototype of atypical antipsychotics, Clozapine. Interestingly, the absence of 5-HT2A did not significantly affect the number of c-fos-induced cells in the cortical regions. However, the ependymal cells showed a dramatically reduced response to Clozapine in the absence of 5-HT2A. In summary, the TRAP system has allowed us to identify various region-specific activity induced by antipsychotics and novel cellular targets of the antipsychotics. These results serve as a "proof of principle" study that can be extended to explore the biochemical and physiological changes brought about by antipsychotics and specifically identify antipsychotic-responsive cells in the live tissue.

Keywords: 5-HT2A receptor knock-out; antipsychotics; c-Fos.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antipsychotic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Clozapine / pharmacology*
  • Corpus Striatum / drug effects*
  • Female
  • Haloperidol / pharmacology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Neurons / drug effects*
  • Olanzapine / pharmacology
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-fos / drug effects
  • Receptor, Serotonin, 5-HT2A / genetics


  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-fos
  • Receptor, Serotonin, 5-HT2A
  • Clozapine
  • Haloperidol
  • Olanzapine