Differential regulation of the mesoaccumbens circuit by serotonin 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT)2A and 5-HT2C receptors

Lance R. McMahon, Malgorzata Filip, Kathryn A. Cunningham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

93 Scopus citations


Serotonin [5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT)] 5-HT2A and 5-HT2C receptors (5-HT2ARs and 5-HT2CRs), which innervate the dopamine mesoaccumbens pathway, may play an important role in the behavioral effects of cocaine. To test this hypothesis, the present study measured cocaine-evoked locomotor activity after bilateral microinjection of selective 5-HT2AR and 5-HT2CR antagonists into the ventral tegmental area (VTA) or the nucleus accumbens (NAc) shell. Locomotor activity was measured after intracranial microinjection of saline (0.2 μl/ side), the selective 5-HT2AR antagonist R-(+)-α-(2,3-dimethoxyphenyl)-1-[2-(4-fluorophenylethyl)]-4-piperidine methanol (M100907) (0.1 or 0.3/μg · 0.2 μl-1 · side-1), or the selective 5-HT2CR antagonist 8-[5-(2,4-dimethoxy-5-(4-trifluoromethylphenylsulfon-amido) phenyl-5-oxopentyl)]-1,3,8-triazaspiro[4.5]decane-2,4-dione hydrochloride (RS 102221) (0.05-0.5 μg · 0.2 μl-1 · side-1) followed by an injection of saline (1 ml/kg, i.p.) or cocaine (10 mg/kg, i.p.). Microinjection of M100907 (0.1-0.3 μg/side) into the VTA or RS 102221 (0.15-0.5 μg/side) into the NAc shell attenuated cocaine-induced hyperactivity in a dose-related manner. However, hyperactivity evoked by cocaine was not altered by microinjection of RS 102221 into the VTA or M100907 into the NAc shell. No changes in basal activity were observed after microinjection of M100907 or RS 102221 into either brain region. These findings are the first to demonstrate that the behavioral effects of cocaine are generated in part by activation of 5-HT2ARs in the VTA and by activation of 5-HT2CRs in the NAc shell. The selective regulation of the mesoaccumbens circuit by 5-HT2ARs and 5-HT2CRs implicates these 5-HT receptors as important in the behavioral outcomes of systemic cocaine administration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7781-7787
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number19
StatePublished - Oct 1 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • 5-HT receptor
  • 5-HT receptor
  • Behavior
  • Cocaine
  • Nucleus accumbens
  • Serotonin
  • Ventral tegmental area

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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