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The 5-HT(4) receptor may be a target for antidepressant drugs. Here we have examined the effects of the dual antidepressant, venlafaxine, on 5-HT(4) receptor-mediated signalling events. The effects of 21 days treatment (p.o.) with high (40 mg·kg(-1)) and low (10 mg·kg(-1)) doses of venlafaxine, were evaluated at different levels of 5-HT(4) receptor-mediated neurotransmission by using in situ hybridization, receptor autoradiography, adenylate cyclase assays and electrophysiological recordings in rat brain. The selective noradrenaline reuptake inhibitor, reboxetine (10 mg·kg(-1), 21 days) was also evaluated on 5-HT(4) receptor density. Treatment with a high dose (40 mg·kg(-1)) of venlafaxine did not alter 5-HT(4) mRNA expression, but decreased the density of 5-HT(4) receptors in caudate-putamen (% reduction = 26 ± 6), hippocampus (% reduction = 39 ± 7 and 39 ± 8 for CA1 and CA3 respectively) and substantia nigra (% reduction = 49 ± 5). Zacopride-stimulated adenylate cyclase activation was unaltered following low-dose treatment (10 mg·kg(-1)) while it was attenuated in rats treated with 40 mg·kg(-1) of venlafaxine (% reduction = 51 ± 2). Furthermore, the amplitude of population spike in pyramidal cells of CA1 of hippocampus induced by zacopride was significantly attenuated in rats receiving either dose of venlafaxine. Chronic reboxetine did not modify 5-HT(4) receptor density. Our data indicate a functional desensitization of 5-HT(4) receptors after chronic venlafaxine, similar to that observed after treatment with the classical selective inhibitors of 5-HT reuptake.


R Vidal, E M Valdizan, M T Vilaró, A Pazos, E Castro. Reduced signal transduction by 5-HT4 receptors after long-term venlafaxine treatment in rats. British journal of pharmacology. 2010 Oct;161(3):695-706

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PMID: 20880406

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