Dissociations between the effects of hallucinogenic drugs on behavior and raphe unit activity in freely moving cats

Michael E. Trulson, James Heym, Barry L. Jacobs

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36 Scopus citations

Abstract

The hypothesis that the action of hallucinogenic drugs is mediated by a depression of the activity of brain serotonergic (raphe) neurons was testedby examining the behavioral effects of several hallucinogenic drugs while concurrently monitoring the activity of raphe neurons in freely moving cats. LSD produced a dose-dependent decrease in raphe unit activity and a dose-dependent increase in certain behaviors (e.g. limb flick and abortive groom), and the peak of the behavioral and unit changes were temporally correlated. However, there were three important dissociations between the behavioral and electrophysiological effects of LSD. Firstly, low doses of LSD produced only small decreases in raphe unit activity but significant behavioral changes. Secondly, the duration of LSD-induced behavioral changes significantly outlasted the depression of raphe unit activity. And thirdly, raphe neurons were at least as responsive to LSD during tolerance as they were in the nontolerant condition. Psilocin produced a dose-dependent decrease in raphe unit activity, while the behavioral changes were not dose-related. However, the peak behavioral changes corresponded to the maximal depression of raphe unit activity. The phenylethylamine hallucinogens. DOM and mescaline, both produced large behavioral changes but no overall effect on raphe neurons. Following administration of DOM or mescaline, some raphe units showed a significant increase, while some showed a significant decrease, othrs showed a significant increase, while some phenylethylamine hallucinogens may exert a depressant effect upon a subset of serotonin-containing neurons, and an amphetamine-like excitatory effect upon an other subset of these neurons. Consistent with previous studies, all hallucinogens produced a high concentration of slow waves in the cortical EEG. Following administration of LSD or psilocin, the appearance of slow waves in the EEG was often associated with a transitory decrease in unit activity, while this was not observed for the phenylethylamine hallucinogens. The present data, in conjunction with recent data from other laboratories, suggest that the serotonin hypothesis of hallucinogenic drug action should be re-evaluated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)275-293
Number of pages19
JournalBrain Research
Volume215
Issue number1-2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 29 1981

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology

Keywords

  • behavior
  • cat
  • hallucinogenic drugs
  • raphe unit activity
  • serotonin

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