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Neuropsychopharmacology. 1994 Nov;11(3):157-66.

Neurons expressing 5-HT2 receptors in the rat brain: neurochemical identification of cell types by immunocytochemistry.

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Nancy Pritzker Laboratory of Molecular and Developmental Neurobiology, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine, CA 94305-5485.


The serotonin2 (5-HT2) receptor has been implicated in a number of behavioral and physiological processes. It may also play a role in cellular development and differentiation, and represents a site of action of hallucinogens and certain psychotherapeutic drugs. To better understand the functions and regulation of the 5-HT2 receptor, we have undertaken a series of studies in which we attempted to identify the specific cell types that express the receptor. This was accomplished using a variety of double-labeling strategies with an antibody we raised against the rat 5-HT2 receptor protein. In this review, we recount of some of our previously published findings and present some new data in which we identify subpopulations of cholinergic neurons in the brainstem and gamma-aminobutynic acid (GABA)ergic interneurons in the cortex that express 5-HT2 receptor immunoreactivity. Developmentally, the appearance of 5-HT2 receptor immunoreactivity occurs relatively late in teh ontogeny of the cells in which it is expressed, mostly in the early postnatal period. This argues against a significant role for this receptor in early development, though it may participate in some aspect of terminal differentiation. We discuss the significance of the cell-type-specific and temporal expression of the 5-HT2 receptor in the context of current hypotheses of neuropsychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia.

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