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J Biol Rhythms. 2001 Feb;16(1):25-38.

Serotonergic modulation of retinal input to the mouse suprachiasmatic nucleus mediated by 5-HT1B and 5-HT7 receptors.

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  • 1Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins 80523-1760, USA.

Erratum in

  • J Biol Rhythms 2001 Apr;16(2):192.


Serotonin (5-HT) and 5-HT receptor agonists can modify the response of the mammalian suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) to light. It remains uncertain which 5-HT receptor subtypes mediate these effects. The effects of 5-HT receptor activation on optic nerve-mediated input to SCN neurons were examined using whole-cell patch-clamp recordings in horizontal slices of ventral hypothalamus from the male mouse. The hypothesis that 5-HT reduces the effect of retinohypothalamic tract (RHT) input to the SCN by acting at 5-HT1B receptors was tested first. As previously described in the hamster, a mixed 5-HT(1A/1B) receptor agonist, 1-[3-(trifluoromethyl)phenyl]-piperazine hydrochloride (TFMPP), reduced the amplitude of glutamatergic excitatory postsynaptic currents (EPSCs) evoked by selectively stimulating the optic nerve of wild-type mice. The agonist was negligibly effective in a 5-HT1B receptor knockout mouse, suggesting minimal contribution of 5-HT1A receptors to the TFMPP-induced reduction in the amplitude of the optic nerve-evoked EPSC. We next tested the hypothesis that 5-HT also reduces RHT input to the SCN via activation of 5-HT7 receptors. The mixed 5-HT(1A/7) receptor agonist, R(+)-8-hydroxy-2-(di-n-propylamino) tetralin hydrobromide (8-OH-DPAT), reduced the evoked EPSC amplitude in both wild-type and 5-HT1B receptor knockout mice. This effect of 8-OH-DPAT was minimally attenuated by the selective 5-HT1A receptor antagonist WAY 100635 but was reversibly and significantly reduced in the presence of ritanserin, a mixed 5-HT(2/7) receptor antagonist. Taken together with the authors' previous ultrastructural studies of 5-HT1B receptors in the mouse SCN, these results indicate that in the mouse, 5-HT reduces RHT input to the SCN by acting at 5-HT1B receptors located on RHT terminals. Moreover, activation of 5-HT7 receptors in the mouse SCN, but not 5-HT1A receptors, also results in a reduction in the amplitude of the optic nerve-evoked EPSC. The findings indicate that 5-HT may modulate RHT glutamatergic input to the SCN through 2 or more 5-HT receptors. The likely mechanism of altered RHT glutamatergic input to SCN neurons is an alteration of photic effects on the SCN circadian oscillator.

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