, Volume 176, Issue 3–4, pp 376–385 | Cite as

5-HT2A and 5-HT2C receptor antagonists have opposing effects on a measure of impulsivity: interactions with global 5-HT depletion

  • Catharine A. Winstanley
  • David E. H. Theobald
  • Jeffrey W. Dalley
  • Jeffrey C. Glennon
  • Trevor W. Robbins
Original Investigation



Global serotonin (5-HT) depletion increases the number of premature responses made on the five-choice serial reaction time task (5CSRT) in rats. In contrast, the 5-HT2A receptor antagonist M100907 decreases this measure of impulsivity. Mounting evidence suggests that 5-HT2A and 5-HT2C receptors have opposing effects on behaviour, and that the 5-HT2C receptor antagonist SB 242084 produces a pattern of behaviour similar to 5-HT depletion.


To assess the effects of 5-HT2A and 5-HT2C receptor antagonists on performance of the 5CSRT, to directly compare the effects of these drugs with those of ICV 5,7-dihydroxytryptamine (5,7-DHT) lesions and to investigate whether 5-HT depletion affects the action of these agents.


The effects of M100907 (0, 0.01, 0.03, 0.1 mg/kg IP) and SB 242084 (0, 0.1, 0.25, 0.5 mg/kg IP) were investigated on performance of the 5CSRT in both ICV 5,7-DHT-lesioned and sham-operated rats.


ICV 5,7-DHT lesions, which significantly decreased forebrain levels of 5-HT by around 90%, increased levels of premature responding, decreased omissions and the latency to respond correctly, yet did not affect performance accuracy. M100907 decreased premature responding in sham-operated controls but not in 5-HT-depleted rats. In contrast, SB 242084 increased premature responding in all animals, and also decreased the latency to make a correct response in sham-operated controls.


These data support the view that serotonergic regulation of impulsive behaviour through different members of the 5-HT2 receptor family is functionally heterogeneous. Although both 5-HT2A and 5-HT2C receptors participate in controlling this form of impulsive action, their relative contribution may depend on the endogenous state of the 5-HT system.


Serotonin Impulsivity 5-HT2A receptor 5-HT2C receptor 5,7-DHT 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Catharine A. Winstanley
    • 1
  • David E. H. Theobald
    • 1
  • Jeffrey W. Dalley
    • 1
  • Jeffrey C. Glennon
    • 2
  • Trevor W. Robbins
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Experimental PsychologyUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK
  2. 2.Department of Biological Lead OptimisationSolvay PharmaceuticalsWeespThe Netherlands

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