Drug discrimination studies of the interoceptive cues produced by selective serotonin uptake inhibitors and selective serotonin releasing agents
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MMAI (5-methoxy-6-methyl-2-aminoindan) is a nonneurotoxic, highly selective neuronal serotonin (5-HT) releasing agent. MMAI and other 5-HT releasing agents produce a robust discriminative cue in drug discrimination (DD) studies. The selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) sertraline and citalopram may also serve as discriminative stimuli, but acquisition of their discrimination required almost twice as much time as for MMAI. In vitro, 5-HT release by MMAI can be blocked by selective SSRIs. However, in the present DD studies, pretreatment with fluoxetine, sertraline, or citalopram 60 min before the training drugs MMAI or (+)-MBDB produced only partial inhibition of the discriminative cue. In substitution tests, sertraline and citalopram partially mimicked the training drugs, whereas only 40% substitution occurred with fluoxetine in MMAI or (+)-MBDB trained rats. In generalization tests, the tricyclic antidepressants imipramine and clomipramine partly substituted for the sertraline, citalopram, and MMAI stimuli. The increase in extracellular 5-HT produced by SSRIs leads to a subtle or feeble drug cue that is apparently difficult for an animal to recognize. This observation contrasts with the 5-HT releasing agents, which clearly produce robust cues that are easily recognized by the animals. However, mechanism(s) responsible for the discriminative stimulus effects of SSRIs and 5-HT releasing agents seem to be similar, at least in part.
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