A valid indicator of central serotonergic neurotransmission would be useful for various diagnostic and psychopharmacological purposes in psychiatry. However, known peripheral serotonergic measures only partially reflect serotonergic function in the brain. Previous findings suggest that the intensity dependence of auditory evoked potentials (AEPs) is closely related to central serotonergic activity. The present study examines the effects of microinjection of a 5-HT(1A) agonist (8-OH-DPAT) and a 5-HT(1A) antagonist (spiperone) into the dorsal raphe nucleus (DRN) on AEP recorded epidurally from the primary and secondary auditory cortex in behaving cats. We found a stronger intensity dependence only of AEP from the primary auditory cortex after 8-OH-DPAT, which inhibits the firing rate of serotonergic DRN neurons, and a weaker intensity dependence after spiperone, which increases serotonergic cell firing, as compared to baseline measurements. These results demonstrate that the intensity dependence of AEP is inversely related to serotonergic neuronal activity and that it may be a promising tool for assessing central serotonergic function in humans (e.g., identifying patients with low serotonergic neurotransmission).
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health