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Neuroscience. 2011 Dec 1;197:132-44. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2011.09.041. Epub 2011 Sep 24.

5-hydroxytryptamine 2C receptors in the dorsal striatum mediate stress-induced interference with negatively reinforced instrumental escape behavior.

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1
Department of Integrative Physiology, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309-0354, USA.

Abstract

Uncontrollable stress can interfere with instrumental learning and induce anxiety in humans and rodents. While evidence supports a role for serotonin (5-HT) and serotonin 2C receptors (5-HT(2C)R) in the behavioral consequences of uncontrollable stress, the specific sites of action are unknown. These experiments sought to delineate the role of 5-HT and 5-HT(2C)R in the dorsal striatum (DS) and the lateral/basolateral amygdala (BLA) in the expression of stress-induced instrumental escape deficits and exaggerated fear, as these structures are critical to instrumental learning and fear behaviors. Using in vivo microdialysis, we first demonstrated that prior uncontrollable, but not controllable, stress sensitizes extracellular 5-HT in the dorsal striatum, a result that parallels prior work in the BLA. Additionally, rats were implanted with bi-lateral cannula in either the DS or the BLA and exposed to uncontrollable tail shock stress. One day later, rats were injected with 5-HT(2C)R antagonist (SB242084) and fear and instrumental learning behaviors were assessed in a shuttle box. Separately, groups of non-stressed rats received an intra-DS or an intra-BLA injection of the 5-HT(2C)R agonist (CP809101) and behavior was observed. Intra-DS injections of the 5-HT(2C)R antagonist prior to fear/escape tests completely blocked the stress-induced interference with instrumental escape learning; a partial block was observed when injections were in the BLA. Antagonist administration in either region did not influence stress-induced fear behavior. In the absence of prior stress, intra-DS administration of the 5-HT(2C)R agonist was sufficient to interfere with escape behavior without enhancing fear, while intra-BLA administration of the 5-HT(2C)R agonist increased fear behavior but had no effect on escape learning. Results reveal a novel role of the 5-HT(2C)R in the DS in the expression of instrumental escape deficits produced by uncontrollable stress and demonstrate that the involvement of 5-HT(2C)R activation in stress-induced behaviors is regionally specific.

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