Serotonergic-Postsynaptic Receptors Modulate Gripping-Induced Immobility Episodes in MaleTaiepRats

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ABSTRACTThe Taiep rat is a myelin mutant with a motor syndrome characterized by tremor, ataxia, immobility, epilepsy, and paralysis. The rat shows a hypomyelination followed by a progressive demyelination. During immobilities taiep rats show a REM-like sleep pattern and a disorganized sleep-wake pattern suggesting taiep rats as a model of narcolepsy-cataplexy. Our study analyzed the role of postsynaptic serotonin receptors in the expression of gripping-induced immobility episodes (IEs) in 8-month-old male taiep rats. The specific postsynaptic serotonin agonist ±1-(2,5-dimethoxy-4-iodoamphetamine hydrochloride (±DOI) decreased the frequency of gripping-induced IEs, but that was not the case with α-methyl-serotonin maleate (α-methyl-5HT), a nonspecific postsynaptic agonist. Although the serotonin antagonists, ketanserine and metergoline, produced a biphasic effect, first a decrease followed by an increase with higher doses, similar effects were obtained with a mean duration of gripping-induced IEs. These findings correlate with the pharmacological observations in narcoleptic dogs and humans in which serotonin-reuptake inhibitors improve cataplexy, particularly in long-term treatment that could change the serotonin receptor levels. Polysomnographic recordings showed an increase in the awakening time and a decrease in the slow wave and rapid eye movement sleep concomitant with a decrease in immobilities after use of ±DOI, this being stronger with the highest dose. Taken together, our results show that postsynaptic serotonin receptors are involved in the modulation in gripping-induced IEs caused by the changes in the organization of the sleep-wake cycle in taiep rats. It is possible that specific agonists, without side effects, could be a useful treatment in human narcoleptic patients.

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