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Biol Psychiatry. 2006 Jan 15;59(2):128-37. Epub 2005 Sep 2.

gamma-Aminobutyric acid-serotonin interactions in healthy men: implications for network models of psychosis and dissociation.

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Schizophrenia Biological Research Center, West Haven Veterans Affairs Medical Center, West Haven, Connecticut, USA.



This study tested the hypothesis that deficits in gamma-aminobutyric acid type A (GABA(A)) receptor function might create a vulnerability to the psychotogenic and perceptual altering effects of serotonergic (5-HT(2A/2C)) receptor stimulation. The interactive effects of iomazenil, an antagonist and partial inverse agonist of the benzodiazepine site of the GABA(A) receptor complex, and m-chlorophenylpiperazine (m-CPP), a partial agonist of 5-HT(2A/2C) receptors, were studied in 23 healthy male subjects.


Subjects underwent 4 days of testing, during which they received intravenous infusions of iomazenil/placebo followed by m-CPP/placebo in a double-blind, randomized crossover design. Behavioral, cognitive, and hormonal data were collected before drug infusions and periodically for 200 min after.


Iomazenil and m-CPP interacted in a synergistic manner to produce mild psychotic symptoms and perceptual disturbances without impairing cognition. Iomazenil and m-CPP increased anxiety in an additive fashion. Iomazenil and m-CPP interacted in a synergistic manner to increase serum cortisol.


Gamma-aminobutyric acid-ergic deficits might increase the vulnerability to the psychotomimetic and perceptual altering effects of serotonergic agents. These data suggest that interactions between GABA(A) and 5-HT systems might contribute to the pathophysiology of psychosis and dissociative-like perceptual states.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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