Electrophysiological evidence for a dopaminergic action of LSD: Depression of unit activity in the substantia nigra of the rat

Greg R. Christoph, Donald M. Kuhn, Barry L. Jacobs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Scopus citations

Abstract

LSD (25-50 μg/kg, i.v.) significantly decreased the firing rate of 78% of the dopamine-containing neurons in the substantia nigra of chloral hydrate anesthetized rats. In a subgroup of neurons (22%), LSD either had no clear effect or caused a slight excitation. On the other hand, brom-LSD (100 μg/kg, i.v.), a non-hallucinogenic congener of LSD, had no effect on 71% of dopaminergic cells and slightly reduced the firing rate with 29% of the units. Pretreatment with haloperidol (0.1 mg/kg) blocked the inhibitory effects of LSD, and haloperidol injected following LSD reversed its depressive effects. Non-dopaminergic neurons in the region of the substantia nigra typically showed large increases in firing rate in response to LSD administration. The inhibitory effects of LSD on dopamine-containing neurons are probably not attributable to the serotonergic properties of LSD, since 5-methoxy N,N dimethyltryptamine (25-100 μg/kg), which has central serotonergic properties similar to those of LSD, produced exclusively excitatory effects on the firing rate of dopaminergic cells. These electrophysiological results are consistent with recent behavioral and neurochemical data which suggest that LSD can act as a dopamine agonist in the CNS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1585-1596
Number of pages12
JournalLife Sciences
Volume21
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 1977

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)

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