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Neurosci Lett. 1998 Aug 28;253(1):61-4.

Serotonergic modulation of eye blinks in cat and monkey.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, University of Tennessee College of Medicine, Memphis 38163, USA.


Serotonergic modulation of spontaneous and reflexive blinking was studied in four cats and one monkey. In cats, facial nucleus injections of the type-2 serotonin receptor (5-HT2) antagonist ketanserin tended to increase the latency of the first (R1) and second (R2) components of the blink reflex to supraorbital nerve stimulation. Injections of serotonin tended to increase and of ketanserin, to decrease the duration and amplitude of R2. Serotonin also produced unilateral blepharospasm and hemifacial spasm. In the monkey, the 5-HT2 agonist 2,5-dimethoxy-4-iodoamphetamine increased spontaneous blink frequency while ketanserin decreased both peak blink velocity and spontaneous blink frequency. These findings in cat and monkey indicate that serotonergic innervation of the facial nucleus has a behaviorally important role in modulation of spontaneous and reflexive blinks and suggest that dysfunction of serotonergic systems could be important to the pathophysiology of some cases of blepharospasm.

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