Involvement of ventral hippocampus 5-HT2C receptors on defensive behaviors of rats in the elevated plus-maze

Pharmacological 5-HT2C receptor activation induces defensive behaviors in several animal models of anxiety. The present study investigated whether the selective blockade of 5-HT2C receptors in the ventral hippocampus (VH) prevents defensive behaviors induced by a 5-HT2C agonist administered systemically in rats exposed to the elevated plus-maze (EPM). Fifteen minutes after intraperitonial (IP, 1ml/kg) injections of the selective 5-HT2C receptor agonist WAY-161503 (3 mg/kg), rats were bilaterally microinjected with the selective 5-HT2C antagonist SB-242084 (0, 0.1, 0.5 or 1.5μg) into the VH. Ten minutes after, each animal was exposed to the EPM for measuring classical and ethological anxiety measures. IP WAY-161503 injections selectively decreased open-arm exploration while increasing risk-assessment. This anxiogenic-like action was dose-dependently attenuated by intra-VH SB-242084 microinjections. These results not only further confirm the anxiogenic-like action of 5-HT2C agonists, but also suggest that this behavioral profile might be mediated at least in part by VH 5-HT2C receptors.

5-HT2C receptor; ventral hippocampus; elevated plus-maze

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