Effects of ethanol on the dorsal raphe nucleus and its projections to the caudate putamen

Richard J. Thielen, Sandra L. Morzorati, William J. McBride

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Scopus citations

Abstract

The objective of this study was to examine the effects of intraperitoneal injection of ethanol on the activity of the dorsal raphe nucleus (DRN) serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine [5-HT]) system and its projections to the rostral caudate putamen (CPu) and determine whether rapid tolerance to the effects of ethanol develops in this system. Adult, male, Wistar rats were used in these experiments. In experiment 1, a microdialysis procedure was used to determine (a) the effects of acute intraperitoneal administration of ethanol (1.75 and 2.5 g/kg) on the extracellular levels of 5-HT in the rostral CPu and (b) whether rapid tolerance develops to these effects. In experiment 2, firing rates of 5-HT neurons were determined in the DRN after intraperitoneal administration of 2.5 g/kg of ethanol. The results of the microdialysis experiments indicated that the 2.5-g/kg dose significantly (P<.005) increased the extracellular levels of 5-HT to 150%-160% of baseline. Compared with findings for rats pretreated with saline 24 h earlier, prior treatment 24 h earlier with 2.5 g/kg of ethanol had no effect on the extracellular levels of 5-HT produced by a challenge dose of 2.5 g/kg of ethanol. Contrary to the effects in the CPu, intraperitoneal administration of 2.5 g/kg of ethanol significantly (P<.005) decreased the firing rates of 5-HT neurons in the DRN to approximately 50% of control. Overall, the results suggest to us that there is a dissociation between the effects of acute administration of ethanol on 5-HT cell body neuronal activity and 5-HT synaptic activity. The higher extracellular levels of 5-HT in the CPu may be due to increased release of 5-HT from a direct or an indirect action of ethanol, a result of inhibiting 5-HT reuptake, or related to both of these mechanisms. In addition, the findings suggest to us that rapid tolerance did not develop to the effects of ethanol on the 5-HT system within the CPu.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)131-139
Number of pages9
JournalAlcohol
Volume23
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 18 2001

Keywords

  • Acute ethanol
  • Caudate putamen
  • Dorsal raphe nucleus
  • Firing rates
  • Microdialysis
  • Serotonin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Medicine(all)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Toxicology
  • Health(social science)

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