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Neuroscience. 2007 Mar 30;145(3):900-10. Epub 2007 Feb 9.

Prefrontal cortical network activity: Opposite effects of psychedelic hallucinogens and D1/D5 dopamine receptor activation.

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Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06508, USA. <>


The fine-tuning of network activity provides a modulating influence on how information is processed and interpreted in the brain. Here, we use brain slices of rat prefrontal cortex to study how recurrent network activity is affected by neuromodulators known to alter normal cortical function. We previously determined that glutamate spillover and stimulation of extrasynaptic N-methyl-d-aspartic acid (NMDA) receptors are required to support hallucinogen-induced cortical network activity. Since microdialysis studies suggest that psychedelic hallucinogens and dopamine D1/D5 receptor agonists have opposite effects on extracellular glutamate in prefrontal cortex, we hypothesized that these two families of psychoactive drugs would have opposite effects on cortical network activity. We found that network activity can be enhanced by 2,5-dimethoxy-4-iodoamphetamine (DOI) (a psychedelic hallucinogen that is a partial agonist of 5-HT(2A/2C) receptors) and suppressed by the selective D1/D5 agonist SKF 38393. This suppression could be mimicked by direct activation of adenylyl cyclase with forskolin or by addition of a cAMP analog. These findings are consistent with previous work showing that activation of adenylyl cyclase can upregulate neuronal glutamate transporters, thereby decreasing synaptic spillover of glutamate. Consistent with this hypothesis, a low concentration of the glutamate transporter inhibitor threo-beta-benzoylaspartic acid (TBOA) restored electrically-evoked recurrent activity in the presence of a selective D1/D5 agonist, whereas recurrent activity in the presence of a low level of the GABA(A) antagonist bicuculline was not resistant to suppression by the D1/D5 agonist. The tempering of network UP states by D1/D5 receptor activation may have implications for the proposed use of D1/D5 agonists in the treatment of schizophrenia.

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