Serotoninergic mechanisms of the effects of neurotensin on passive avoidance behavior in rats

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The aim of the present work was to identify the features of the actions of neurotensin on administration into the substantia nigra or dorsal cervical nucleus on the reproduction of passive avoidance reactions in rats. The results showed that the action of neurotensin administered into the substantia nigra was accompanied by sharp reductions in passive avoidance reactions, while administration into the dorsal cervical nucleus, conversely, led to increases in these reactions and slowing of their extinction. The effects of microinjections of the serotonin 5-HT1A receptor agonist 8-hydroxydipropylaminotetraline (8-OH-DPAT) into these brain structures were analogous to the effects of neurotensin. The different behavioral effects of administration of neurotensin corresponded to identifiable changes in the levels of serotonin and its metabolite 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid in the caudate nuclei of the brain. These data led to the conclusion that the effects of neurotensin on passive avoidance behavior are associated with the regulation of the emotional state of the animals via actions on the functions of brain serotoninergic structures.

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