, Volume 108, Issue 3, pp 380-386

Effect of the 5-HT1A partial agonist buspirone on regional cerebral blood flow in man

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Repeated measurements of regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) were made in normal volunteers before, and after, the administration of the 5-HT1A partial agonist, buspirone, or placebo. The difference in rCBF, before and after drug, (buspirone versus placebo) was used to identify brain areas affected by buspirone. Buspirone-induced changes in rCBF were studied under two behavioural conditions (5 word-list learning and 15 word-list learning). Compared to placebo, buspirone increased blood flow in the cuneus during both behavioural states. However, decreases in blood flow, centred in the left dorso-lateral prefrontal cortex and posterior cingulate cortex, were only observed under one of the two behavioural conditions. It is concluded that buspirone-induced alterations in regional cerebral blood flow are better understood, not in relation to the known distribution of monoamine neurotransmitter systems (particularly ascending 5-HT projections), but rather in relation to putative neuronal circuits possibly many synapses “downstream” of buspirone's pharmacological site of action.