Forced swim stress activates rat hippocampal serotonergic neurotransmission involving a corticotropin-releasing hormone receptor-dependent mechanism
Linthorst AC, Penalva RG, Flachskamm C, Holsboer F, Reul JM.
Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry,
Sections of Neurochemistry and Neuropsychopharmacology,
Kraepelinstrasse 2, D-80804 Munich, Germany.
Eur J Neurosci 2002 Dec;16(12):2441-52


Serotonin is important for adequate coping with stress. Aberrant serotonin function is implicated in the aetiology of major depression and anxiety disorders. Dysregulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical axis, involving elevated corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) activity, also plays a role in these stress-related illnesses. Here we studied the effects of stress on hippocampal serotonin and the role of the CRH system using in vivo microdialysis. First, rats were subjected to a forced swim stress, resulting in a dramatic increase in hippocampal serotonin (1500% of baseline), which was associated with the occurrence of diving behaviour. The diving-associated increase in serotonin depended on activation of CRH receptors, as it was antagonized by intracerebroventricular pretreatment with D-Phe-CRH12-41. Secondly, the effects of intracerebroventricular administration of CRH and urocortin (0.03-1.0 micro g) were studied. Both CRH and urocortin caused a dose-dependent rise in hippocampal serotonin (maximally 350% of baseline) and 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid levels, suggesting the involvement of CRH receptor type 1. Because the effects of urocortin were prolonged, CRH receptor type 2 could play a role in a later phase of the neurotransmitter response. Experiments using adrenalectomized rats showed that CRH-induced serotonin changes were adrenally independent. These data suggest that the raphe-hippocampal serotonin system is able to mount, CRH receptor-dependent, responses to specific stressful situations that surpass the usually observed maximal increases of about 300% of baseline during stress and enhanced vigilance.
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