Effect of chronic administration of selective 5-hydroxytryptamine and noradrenaline uptake inhibitors on a putative index of 5-HT2C/2B receptor function

Neuropharmacology. 1994 Dec;33(12):1581-8. doi: 10.1016/0028-3908(94)90133-3.


Chronic treatment with selective 5-HT reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) are therapeutic in obsessive compulsive disorder, depression, anxiety, bulimia nervosa and migraine. In the present study the possibility that SSRI's act by desensitizing 5-HT2C/5-HT2B receptors was assessed using a putative in vivo model of 5-HT2C/5-HT2B receptor function, mCPP-induced hypolocomotion. mCPP (2, 4 and 6 mg/kg i.p. 20 min pretest) reduced locomotion and rears in rats treated acutely or chronically with saline. Acute oral administration of the SSRI's fluoxetine (10 mg/kg), paroxetine (10 mg/kg), or clomipramine (70 mg/kg) or the noradrenaline reuptake inhibitor, desipramine (10 mg/kg), all 1 hr pretest, did not prevent mCPP-induced hypolocomotion. In contrast, chronic treatment with the SSRI's paroxetine and fluoxetine (both 10 mg/kg p.o. daily x 21 days), significantly attenuated the effect of mCPP (4 and 6 mg/kg i.p.) on locomotion and rears 24 hr after the last pretreatment dose. Chronic clomipramine (70 mg/kg p.o. daily x 21 days) also significantly attenuated the effect of mCPP (4 mg/kg i.p.) on rears and tended to reduce the hypolocomotor response. However, chronic treatment with desipramine, (10 mg/kg p.o. daily x 21) had no effect on any of the parameters measured. As chronic fluoxetine and paroxetine did not reduce brain mCPP levels (determined by HPLC 30 min after 4 mg/kg i.p.) the results suggest that chronic SSRI's, but not desipramine, reduce 5-HT2C/5-HT2B receptor responsivity. If this occurs in man, it may mediate or contribute to their reported therapeutic efficacy in depression, anxiety, bulimia, migraine and alcoholism. It may also be of particular relevance to their unique efficacy in OCD.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Clomipramine / pharmacology
  • Desipramine / pharmacology
  • Fluoxetine / pharmacology
  • Male
  • Motor Activity / drug effects
  • Norepinephrine / metabolism*
  • Paroxetine / pharmacology
  • Piperazines / metabolism
  • Piperazines / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptors, Serotonin / drug effects*
  • Receptors, Serotonin / physiology
  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Time Factors


  • Piperazines
  • Receptors, Serotonin
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors
  • Fluoxetine
  • Paroxetine
  • Clomipramine
  • 1-(3-chlorophenyl)piperazine
  • Desipramine
  • Norepinephrine