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Differential serotonergic inhibition of in vitro striatal [3H]acetylcholine release in prenatally cocaine-exposed male and female rats.

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Psychology Department, Northeastern University, Boston, MA, USA.


Previous research indicates that prenatal cocaine (pCOC)-exposure results in greater 5-HT3 agonist-induced inhibition of electrically evoked [3H]acetylcholine (ACh) overflow in rat striatal slices. The present study examines the effects of fluoxetine (FLU)-induced and exogenous serotonin (5-HT) on electrically evoked ACh release from striatal slices prepared from adult male and female (in periods of diestrus or proestrus) rats exposed to saline or cocaine in utero. Additionally, we assessed the impact of monoaminergic receptor stimulation on evoked ACh release by superfusion with selective 5-HT2, 5-HT3 and D2 receptor antagonists in the presence of FLU-induced and exogenous 5-HT and measuring the capacity of these drugs to reverse inhibitory effects of 5-HT. Given our previous findings of accentuated inhibition of ACh release by 5-HT3 agonism in striata of pCOC-exposed adult rats, we hypothesized that superfusion of endogenous and exogenous 5-HT would lead to greater suppression of evoked ACh release in this group of animals. Our results indicated that ACh release from slices of all prenatal saline (pSAL) rats was inhibited comparably by FLU (10 microM)-elicited increases in endogenous 5-HT or by increases elicited with application of exogenous 5-HT (5 microM). Robust FLU-mediated inhibition of ACh release was evident in slices from pCOC male and pCOC diestrus female rats vs. their respective PSAL control groups. Superfusion of striatal slices with 5-HT (5 microM) produced a pattern of ACh inhibition similar to that produced by FLU; however, the magnitude of ACh inhibition was consistently greater than that observed with FLU. Inhibition of ACh overflow by FLU was blocked by co-superfusion with ketanserin, a 5-HT2 receptor antagonist. ICS-205,930, a 5-HT3 receptor antagonist or sulpiride, a D2 receptor antagonist. Conversely, serotonergic inhibition of ACh overflow was only blocked by a high concentration of ICS-205,930 (5 microM) and was completely reversed by sulpiride (1 microM). Collectively, these findings demonstrate serotonergic modulation of cholinergic neurons varying as a function of prenatal treatment, sex and, for females, phase of estrous. Inhibition of ACh release by 5-HT appears to be mediated by a complex relationship between 5-HT2, 5-HT3 and D2 receptor regulation, as the blockade of any of these receptors reversed the inhibitory effects of FLU on ACh release. Conversely, in the case of exogenous 5-HT-induced inhibition, only blockade of D2 receptors and high concentrations of the 5-HT3 receptor antagonists were capable of reversing monoaminergic inhibition. These data support the hypothesis that the enhanced serotonergic modulation of ACh neurons in pCOC-exposed animals is largely mediated by dopamine (DA) and reflect a major biochemical persistence of neurodevelopmental adaptations elicited by early cocaine exposure.

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