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Kehne JH, Padich RA, Ketteler. 
“5-HT modulation of auditory and visual sensorimotor gating: I. Effects of 5-HT releasers on sound and light prepulse inhibition in Wistar rats”. 
Psychopharmacology (Berl). 1996;124(1-2):95-106.
Increasing evidence suggests an important role for serotonin (5-HT) neurons in the etiology and treatment of schizophrenia. The prepulse inhibition paradigm is used as a model for sensorimotor gating processes that are disrupted in schizophrenia. The present study assessed the general role of 5-HT in modulating auditory and visual prepulse inhibition in Wistar rats. A general overactivation of central serotonerigic pathways was produced pharmacologically by four different agents which all shared the common property of releasing 5-HT, i.e., p-chloroamphetamine, 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, N-ethyl-3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, or fenfluramine. Within each test session, both sound and light prepulses were used to obtain a cross-modal assessment of auditory and visual sensory gating processes. All four 5-HT releasing agents produced dose-related disruptions of auditory and visual prepulse inhibition, with p-chloroamphetamine being the most potent. The releasers depressed baseline to varying degrees. The alpha 2-adrenergic agonist clonidine decreased baseline startle without substantially disrupting prepulse inhibition, demonstrating that the two effects were dissociable. Using fenfluramine as the most selective 5-HT releaser, two approaches were used to demonstrate 5-HT mediation of its disruptive effect on prepulse inhibition. In the first approach, the selective 5-HT uptake blocker MDL 28,618A was used to prevent fenfluramine-induced 5-HT release. In the second approach, prior exposure to a neurotoxic dose of p-chloroamphetamine (10 mg/kg) was used to produce a substantial, sustained depletion of cortical 5-HT, presumably reflecting the loss of 5-HT terminals. Both approaches reduced the disruptive effect of fenfluramine on auditory and visual prepulse inhibition, thereby demonstrating 5-HT mediation of these effects. Neither manipulation significantly affected the depressant effect of fenfluramine on startle baseline, demonstrating that the baseline-reducing and prepulse inhibition-reducing effects of fenfluramine could be dissociated. MDL 28,618A alone did not affect prepulse inhibition or basal startle levels, demonstrating an important functional difference between pharmacologically induced 5-HT uptake blockade and 5-HT release. In summary, these data indicate that serotonergic overactivation can disrupt auditory and visual sensorimotor gating as measured using sound and light prepulse inhibition in rats. These data support a potential role of excessive 5-HT activity as a contributing factor to disrupted sensory gating processes seen in schizophrenia and possibly other neuropsychiatric disorders.
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