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Neuropharmacology. 2005 Mar;48(4):492-502.

Genetic knockout and pharmacological blockade studies of the 5-HT7 receptor suggest therapeutic potential in depression.

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  • 1Neuroscience Research Centre, Merck, Sharp & Dohme Research Laboratories, Terlings Park, Eastwick Road, Harlow, Essex CM20 2QR, UK.


The affinity of several antidepressant and antipsychotic drugs for the 5-HT7 receptor and its CNS distribution suggest potential in the treatment of psychiatric diseases. However, there is little direct evidence of receptor function in vivo to support this. We therefore evaluated 5-HT7 receptors as a potential drug target by generating and assessing a 5-HT7 receptor knockout mouse. No difference in assays sensitive to potential psychotic or anxiety states was observed between the 5-HT7 receptor knockout mice and wild type controls. However, in the Porsolt swim test, 5-HT7 receptor knockout mice showed a significant decrease in immobility compared to controls, a phenotype similar to antidepressant treated mice. Intriguingly, treatment of wild types with SB-258719, a selective 5-HT7 receptor antagonist, did not produce a significant decrease in immobility unless animals were tested in the dark (or active) cycle, rather than the light, adding to the body of evidence suggesting a circadian influence on receptor function. Extracellular recordings from hypothalamic slices showed that circadian rhythm phase shifts to 8-OH-DPAT are attenuated in the 5-HT7 receptor KO mice also indicating a role for the receptor in the regulation of circadian rhythms. These pharmacological and genetic knockout studies provide the first direct evidence that 5-HT7 receptor antagonists should be investigated for efficacy in the treatment of depression.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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