Atypical antipsychotic clozapine reversed deficit on prepulse inhibition of the acoustic startle reflex produced by microinjection of DOI into the inferior colliculus in rats

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Abstract

Dysfunctions of the serotonergic system have been suggested to be important in the neurobiology of schizophrenia. Patients with schizophrenia exhibit deficits in an operational measure of sensorimotor gating: prepulse inhibition (PPI) of startle. PPI is the normal reduction in the startle response caused by a low intensity non-startling stimulus (prepulse) which is presented shortly before the startle stimulus (pulse). The hallucinogen 2,5-dimethoxy-4-iodoamphetamine (DOI), a 5-hydroxytryptamine(HT)2 receptor agonist disrupted PPI in rats. The inferior colliculus (IC) is a critical nucleus of the auditory pathway mediating acoustic PPI. The activation of the IC by the acoustic prepulse reduces startle magnitude. The present study investigated the role of serotonergic transmission in the IC on the expression of acoustic PPI. For that we investigated whether 5-HT2A receptor activation or blockade would affect this response. Unilateral microinjection of DOI (10 μg/0.3 μl) into the IC disrupted PPI, while microinjection of the 5-HT2A receptor antagonist ritanserin (4 μg/0.3 μl), into this structure did not alter PPI. We also examined the ability of the atypical antipsychotic clozapine (5.0 mg/kg; I.P.) to reverse the disruption of PPI produced by unilateral microinjections of DOI into the IC of rats. Pretreatment with clozapine blocked DOI-induced disruption of PPI. Altogether, these results suggest that serotonin-mediated mechanisms of the IC are involved in the expression of PPI in rodents and that this response is sensitive to atypical antipsychotic clozapine.

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