Involvement of 5-HT2C receptors in mediating the discriminative stimulus properties of m-chlorophenylpiperazine (mCPP)

Patrick M. Callahan, Kathryn A. Cunningham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


Rats were trained to discriminate the 5-HT receptor agonists m-chlorophenylpiperazine (mCPP; 1 mg/kg) from saline using a two-lever, water-reinforced drug discrimination task. The antidepressant trazodone (1-8 mg/kg), the 5-HT1B/2C receptor agonists 1-(m-trifluoromethylphenyl)piperazine (TFMPP; 0.25-1 mg/kg) and MK 212 (0.125-1 mg/kg), and the mixed 5-HT1A/B receptor agonist RU 24969 (0.25-2 mg/kg) substituted fully for mCPP. The 5-HT2A/2C receptor agonists 1-(2,5-dimethoxy-4-iodophenyl) -2-aminopropane (DOI; 0.25-1 mg/kg) and d-lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD; 0.02-0.08 mg/kg) and the 5-HT releaser fenfluramine (0.5-2 mg/kg) also mimicked mCPP. Agonists selective for the 5-HT1A or 5-HT3 receptor or the 5-HT reuptake site produced saline-lever responding. The ergoline derivative mesulergine (0.5-4 mg/kg) produced a partial agonist/antagonist profile. The 5-HT 1 2 receptor antagonist metergoline (0.125-2 mg/kg) completely blocked the mCPP cue whereas the 5-HT2A/2C receptor antagonists ketanserin and LY 53857 as well as all other 5-HT receptor antagonists failed to block the mCPP cue. The dopamine receptor antagonists SCH 23390 and haloperidol were also ineffective mCPP antagonists. Following pretreatment with the 5-HT synthesis inhibitor p-chlorophenylalanine (pCPA; 100 mg/kg/day) for 3 consecutive days, the discriminability of low doses of mCPP increased, whereas the effects of fenfluramine decreased. The present results suggest that the discriminative stimulus effects of mCPP in rats are mediated primarily by postsynaptic 5-HT2C receptors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27-38
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Journal of Pharmacology
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - May 12 1994
Externally publishedYes


  • (Rat)
  • 5-HT (5-hydroxytryptamine, serotonin)
  • 5-HT receptor
  • 5-HT receptor
  • 5-HT receptor
  • 5-HT receptor agonist
  • 5-HT receptor antagonist
  • Drug discrimination
  • mCPP (m-chlorophenylpiperazine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


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