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Brain Res. 1983 Dec 19;289(1-2):109-19.

Electrophysiological and pharmacological characterization of serotonergic dorsal raphe neurons recorded extracellularly and intracellularly in rat brain slices.


Extracellular and intracellular recordings were made from dorsal raphe (DR) neurons in frontal rat brain slices maintained in vitro. A population of neurons was found which displayed electrophysiological and pharmacological characteristics of serotonin-containing DR neurons recorded in vivo. Recorded extracellularly, these neurons displayed biphasic or triphasic action potentials of 1.5-3.0 ms duration, and discharged with a slow and steady rhythm. Recorded intracellularly these neurons displayed action potentials of about 1.8 ms duration, which were followed by large (10-20 mV) after hyperpolarizations which normally lasted 200-800 ms. These presumed serotonergic DR neurons were inhibited by LSD and serotonin. They were excited by norepinephrine, or the alpha-agonist phenylephrine, and these activations could be reduced or blocked by alpha-adrenoreceptor antagonists including the selective alpha 1-antagonist, prazosin. The major difference between the in vitro recordings and previous in vivo recordings from anesthetized animals was a reduction in the number of spontaneously firing DR neurons. This was probably due, at least in part, to a disfacilitation of serotonergic DR neurons in the slice caused by the functional removal of a tonic noradrenergic input.

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