Corticosterone strongly increases the affinity of dorsal raphe 5-HT1A receptors

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The effects of corticosterone (10 mg/kg, s.c., 6 h) on dorsal raphe 5-HT1A autoreceptors have been studied in adrenalectomized rats with or without porcine galanin modulation. Adrenalectomy diminishes 5-HT1A autoreceptors affinity. Corticosterone increases 5-HT1A autoreceptor agonist affinity (+90%, p<0.001) in adrenalectomized rats. Galanin (10 nM) increases dorsal raphe 5-HT1A autoreceptor density (+65%, p<0.05) and its Kd value (+248%, p<0.05) only in adrenalectomized rats treated with corticosterone. Dorsal raphe glucocorticoid receptors activation by corticosterone may therefore lead to an increased signalling of 5-HT1A autoreceptors that may become counteracted by galanin receptor activation. Glucocorticoids, by enhancing dorsal raphe 5-HT1A autoreceptor function, may therefore cause reduced 5-HT neuronal activity and thus lead to a depressive state.

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