Modulation of certain 5-HT-related behaviours by serotonergic and noradrenergic systems

  • John C.P. Heaton

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The modulation of 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT)-related head-twitchbehaviour by antimigraine drugs and migraine triggers was examined inmice. The antimigraine drugs examined produced either inhibition or noeffect on 5-HT-related head-twitching. On the basis of these resultsit is suggested that 5-HT-related head-twitching is unlikely to beuseful in the preclinical screening and discovery of systemically-activeantimigraine agents. The migraine triggers examined, tyramineand beta-PEA initially produced a repeatable complex time-relatedeffect on 5-HT-related head-twitching, with both inhibition andpotentiation of this behaviour being observed, however, when furtherexamination of the effect of the migraine triggers on 5-HT-relatedhead-twitching was attempted some time later the effects seeninitially were no longer produced.
The effect of (±)-1-<2, 5-dimethoxy-4-iodophenyl)-2-aminopropane,((±)DOl), on on-going behaviour of mice and rats was examined. Shakingbehaviour was observed in both species. In mice, excessive scratchingbehaviour was also present. (±)DOl-induced scratching and shakingbehaviour were found to be differentially modulated by noradrenergicand serotonergic agents, however, the fact that both behaviours wereblocked by ritanserin (5-HT2/5-HT1c receptor antagonist) and inhibitedby FLA-63 (a dopamine-beta-oxidase inhibitor which depletesnoradrenaline), suggests the pathways mediating these behaviours mustbe convergent in some manner, and that both behaviours require intact5-HT receptors, probably 5-HT2 receptors, for their production. Ingeneral, the behavioural profile of (±)DOI was as expected for anagent which exhibits high affinity binding to 5-HT2/5-HT1c receptors.Little sign of the 5-HTl-related '5-HT syndrome' was seen in eithermice or rats.
The effect of a variety of noradrenergic agents on head-twitchinginduced by a variety of shake-inducing agents was examined. A patternof modulatory effect was seen whereby the modulatory effect of thenoradrenergic agents on 5-hydroxytryptophan <5-HTP) (and in some cases, 5-methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine (5-MeODMT)) was found to be the opposite of that observed with quipazine and (±)DOI.
The relationship between these effects, and their implications for understanding the pharmacology of centrally acting drugs is discussed.
Date of AwardDec 1990
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorS.L. Handley (Supervisor)


  • 5-hydroxytryptamine
  • migrane
  • head-twitch
  • scratching
  • noradrenaline

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