Relationship between anxiety and serotonin in the ventral striatum

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Rats were tested in an elevated plus-maze on two consecutive days. Based on the percentage of time spent in the open arms on the 1st day, they were divided into two subgroups with either low or high anxiety levels. A post-mortem neurochemical analysis showed that animals with high anxiety had lower ventral striatal tissue levels of 5-HT. No such differences were found for 5-HT in other brain areas or in dopamine and norepinephrine levels. The ventral striatal 5-HT levels correlated with plus-maze behavior on the 2nd but not 1st day. These data suggest that individual differences in ventral striatal 5-HT interact with plus-maze behavior, which may help to explain why serotonergic drugs can have inconsistent effects in this paradigm.

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