Behavioral and prolactin responses to 5-hydroxytrytophan in rats treated during development with 5,7-dihydroxytryptamine

George R. Breese, Richard A. Vogel, Cynthia M. Kuhn, Richard Mailman, Robert A. Mueller, Saul M. Schanberg

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The serotonin precursor, 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP), can induce a behavioral syndrome characterized by rigidity, splayed feet, tremor, head weaving, saliva and forepaw treading. This response to 5-HTP was markedly potentiated in adult rats treated intracisternally with 5,7-dyhydroxytryptamine (5,7-DHT) during development. Prevention of the 5,7-DHT-induced reduction of brain norepinephrine with pargyline or desipramine did not diminish the potentiationof 5-HTP, suggesting that noradrenergic fibers are not contributing to the altered 5-HTP response. It was also found that treatments with 5,7-DHT potentiated the release of prolactin and the disruption of responding in a fixed-ratio operant task induced by 5-HTP. Other experiments indicated that 5,7-DHT treatments potentiated 5-HTP without affecting the action of l-dihydroxyphenylalamine. In addition, administration of the decarboxylase inhibitor, R0-4-4602, at a dose that inhibits enzyme activity in brain, blocked the 5-HTP-induced behavioral syndrome in 5,7-DHT-treated rats, indicating that 5-HTP must be converted to serotonin for 5-HTP to alter behavior. Thus, the present studies indicate that destruction of setonertic fibers during development can produce permanent changes in central serotonergic mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)263-275
Number of pages13
JournalBrain research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 27 1978

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Neuroscience
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


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