, Volume 97, Issue 4, pp 507–513 | Cite as

The role of 5HT1A receptors in the modulation of the acoustic startle reflex in rats

  • Kevin P. Nanry
  • Hugh A. Tilson
Original Investigations


The modulatory role of serotonin (5-HT) on the acoustic startle reflex was studied using 5-HT receptor agonists and antagonists. 8-Hydroxy-2-(di-n-propylamino) tetralin (8-OHDPAT) (1,2 and 4 mg/kg, SC) and 5-methoxy-N,N-dimethyltamine (5-MeODMT) (1,2 and 4 mg/kg, IP), putative 5-HT1a receptor agonists, increased the magnitude of the startle reflex, while quipazine (5, 10 and 20 mg/kg, SC), an agonist with mixed 5-HT2 and 5-HT1b receptor activity, decreased startle responsiveness. Pretreatment of rats with ketanserin (1, 2 and 4 mg/kg, SC), a 5-HT2 receptor antagonist, had no significant effect on the activity of 8-OHDPAT, 5-MeODMT, or quipazine. Metergoline (0.25, 0.5, 1 and 2 mg/kg, SC), a mixed 5-HT1/5-HT2 receptor antagonist attenuated the augmentation of the reflex by 8-OHDPAT and 5-MeODMT and the suppression produced by quipazine. At the doses used, metergoline produced a non-dose-dependent increase in startle, while ketanserin had no effect. None of the agents specifically affected the bility of a prepulse stimulus to inhibit the acoustic startle response. These data suggest that 5-HT1a and 5-HT1b receptors play opposite roles in the modulation of the acoustic startle response and that 5-HT plays little, if any, role in the prepulse inhibition of the acoustic startle response.

Key words

Acoustic startle Prepulse inhibition Serotonin 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kevin P. Nanry
    • 1
  • Hugh A. Tilson
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Molecular and Integrative NeuroscienceNational Institute of Environmental Health SciencesResearch Triangle ParkUSA

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