Aspects of tic like behaviour and serotonergic control

  • Andrew C. McCreary

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Tic-like movements in rodents bear close similarities to those observed in humans both pharmacologically and morphologically. Pharmacologically, tics are modulated by serotonergic and dopaminergic systems and abnormalities of these systems have been reported in Tourette's Syndrome (TS). Therefore, serotonergic and dopaminergic modulation of tics induced by a thyrotrophin-releasing hormone (TRH) analogue were studied as possible models for TS.
The TRH analogue MK771 induced a variety of tic like movements in mice; blinking fore-paw-licking and fore-paw-tremor were quantified and serotonergic and dopaminergic modulation was investigated. The selective dopamine D1 receptor antagonists SCH23390 and SCH39166 and dopamine D2 antagonists raclopride and sulpiride had no effect on MK771 induced blinking. The D1 antagonists attenuated fore-paw-tremor and -licking while the D2 antagonists were generally without effect on these behaviours. Ketanserin (5-HT2A/ alpha-1 antagonist) and ritanserin (5-HT2A/2C antagonist) were able to attenuate MK771-induced blinking and ketanserin, mianserin (5-HT2A/2C antagonist) and prazosin (alpha-1 adrenoceptor antagonist) were able to attenuate MK771-induced fore-paw-tremor and -licking. The 5-HT2C/2B antagonist SB200646A was without effect on blinking and fore-paw-licking but dose-dependently potentiated fore-paw-tremor. The 5-HT1A agonists 8-OH DPAT and buspirone attenuated blinking at the lower doses tested but were ineffective at the higher doses; the converse was found for fore-paw-licking and -tremor behaviours.The effects of these ligands appeared to be at a postsynaptic 5-HTlA site since para-chlorophenylalanine was without effect on the manipulation of these behaviours. (S)-W A Y100135 was without effect on MK771-induced behaviours, spontaneous and DOl-induced head shakes.
Because kynurenine potentiates head shakes and plasma concentrations are raised in TS patients the effects of kynurenine on the 5-HT2A/2C agonist DOl mediated head shake were established. Kynurenine potentiated the DOl head shake. Attempts were made to correlate serotonergic unit activity with tic like behaviour in cats but this proved unsuccessful. However, the pharmacological understanding of 5-HTlA receptor function has been hampered because of the lack of selective antagonists for this site. For this reason the effects of the novel 5-HTlA antagonists (S)-WA Y- 100135 and WAY -100635 were tested on 5-HT single-unit activity recorded from the dorsal-raphe-nucleus in the behaving cat. Both drugs antagonised the suppression of unit activity caused by 8-0H DPAT. (S)-WA Y-100135 reduced unit activity whereas WAY-100635 increased it. This suggests that WAY-100635 is acting as an antagonist at the 5-HTlA somatodendritic autoreceptor and that (S)W A Y -100135 acts as a partial agonist at this site.
Aspects of tic like behaviour and serotonergic control are discussed.
Date of AwardSept 1995
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorS.L. Handley (Supervisor)


  • Tourette's Syndrome
  • thyrotrophin-releasing hormone
  • tic like movements
  • 5-HT receptors
  • 5-HT single-unit activity
  • 5-HT1A antagonists

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