Rodent data and general hypothesis: antipsychotic action exerted through 5-Ht2A receptor antagonism is dependent on increased serotonergic tone

J Neural Transm (Vienna). 1998;105(4-5):365-96. doi: 10.1007/s007020050064.


The locomotor stimulation induced by the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist MK-801 (dizocilpine) in mice was regarded as a model of at least some aspects of schizophrenia. The serotonin synthesis inhibitor dl-p-chlorophenylalanine (PCPA) was used to evaluate the involvement of endogenous serotonin in (a) the induction of MK-801-induced hyperlocomotion in NMRI mice, and (b) the inhibition of MK-801-induced hyperlocomotion by each of five monoaminergic antagonists (M100907, clozapine, olanzapine, raclopride, SCH23390). Further, brain monoaminergic biochemistry was characterised in rats and mice after various drug treatments. PCPA pretreatment did not significantly reduce MK-801-induced hyperlocomotion in any of the experiments performed; however in a meta-analysis of six experiments, the locomotion displayed by MK-801-treated animals was diminished 17% by PCPA pretreatment. The selective 5-HT2A receptor antagonist M100907 exerted a dose-dependent inhibition of MK-801-induced hyperlocomotion. This effect was abolished in mice pretreated with PCPA, but could be restored in a dose-dependent manner by restitution of endogenous 5-HT by means of 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP). On the other hand, the inhibition of MK-801-induced hyperlocomotion exerted by the selective dopamine D-2 receptor antagonist raclopride or the dopamine D-1 receptor antagonist SCH23390 was unaffected by PCPA pretreatment. The antipsychotics clozapine and olanzapine displayed a split profile. Hence, the inhibitory effect on MK-801-induced hyperlocomotion exerted by low doses of these compounds was diminished after PCPA pretreatment, while inhibition exerted by higher doses was unaffected by PCPA. These results suggest that (1) MK-801-induced hyperlocomotion is accompanied by an activation of, but is not fully dependent upon, brain serotonergic systems. (2) In the hypoglutamatergic state induced by MK-801, endogenous serotonin exerts a stimulatory effect on locomotion through an action at 5-HT2A receptors, an effect that is almost completely counterbalanced by a concomitant inhibitory impact on locomotion, mediated through stimulation of serotonin receptors other than 5-HT2A receptors. M100907, by blocking 5-HT2A receptors, unveils the inhibitory effect exerted on locomotion by these other serotonin receptors. (3) Dopamine D-2 receptor antagonistic properties of antipsychotic compounds, when they come into play, override 5-HT2A receptor antagonism. Possible implications for the treatment of schizophrenia with 5-HT2A receptor antagonists are discussed. It is hypothesized that treatment response to such agents is dependent on increased serotonergic tone.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 3,4-Dihydroxyphenylacetic Acid / metabolism
  • 5-Hydroxytryptophan / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Antipsychotic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Biogenic Monoamines / metabolism*
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Dextroamphetamine / pharmacology
  • Dihydroxyphenylalanine / metabolism
  • Dizocilpine Maleate / pharmacology*
  • Dopamine / metabolism*
  • Fenclonine / pharmacology*
  • Fluorobenzenes / pharmacology
  • Homovanillic Acid / metabolism
  • Hydroxyindoleacetic Acid / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Models, Neurological*
  • Motor Activity / drug effects*
  • Norepinephrine / metabolism
  • Normetanephrine / metabolism
  • Organ Specificity
  • Piperidines / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptor, Serotonin, 5-HT2A
  • Receptors, Serotonin / drug effects
  • Receptors, Serotonin / physiology*
  • Serotonin / metabolism*
  • Serotonin Antagonists / pharmacology*


  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Biogenic Monoamines
  • Fluorobenzenes
  • Piperidines
  • Receptor, Serotonin, 5-HT2A
  • Receptors, Serotonin
  • Serotonin Antagonists
  • Normetanephrine
  • 3,4-Dihydroxyphenylacetic Acid
  • Serotonin
  • Hydroxyindoleacetic Acid
  • Dihydroxyphenylalanine
  • Dizocilpine Maleate
  • 5-Hydroxytryptophan
  • volinanserin
  • Fenclonine
  • Dextroamphetamine
  • Dopamine
  • Norepinephrine
  • Homovanillic Acid