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Neuropharmacology. 1994 Mar-Apr;33(3-4):331-4.

Lack of 5-HT1A autoreceptor desensitization following chronic citalopram treatment, as determined by in vivo microdialysis.

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Department of Pharmacology, University of Göteborg, Sweden.


Electrophysiological studies suggest that 5-HT autoreceptor desensitization may be responsible for the delayed clinical efficacy of some antidepressant drugs, such as selective 5-HT reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) and certain MAO inhibitors (MAOI). In the present study we have used in vivo microdialysis to test this hypothesis. Rats were treated for 2 weeks with the antidepressant SSRI citalopram (5 mg/kg, s.c., b.i.d.). After 24 hr withdrawal, dialysis probes were implanted in the dorsal hippocampus (DH) and the frontal cortex (FCx). The rats then received as acute challenge, a 5-HT1A autoreceptor-active dose of the reference 5-HT1A agonist 8-OH-DPAT (0.025 mg/kg s.c.). The 8-OH-DPAT-induced changes in dialysate 5-HT from the DH and the FCx were monitored and taken as an index of autoreceptor sensitivity. Chronic citalopram and control animals responded similarly to 8-OH-DPAT with a drop of 5-HT of about 50-65%; no significant difference between the chronic citalopram and control groups were obtained, either in the DH or in the FCx. These data suggest that cell body 5-HT1A autoreceptors do not desensitize in response to repeated administration with antidepressant SSRI drugs such as citalopram.

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