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1. The effects of repeated administration of the tricyclic antidepressant drug, desipramine (DMI), on behaviour (locomotor activity and rearing) and the number and affinity of brain beta-adrenoceptor and 5-HT2A receptor binding sites were examined in olfactory bulbectomized (OB) and sham-operated control rats. 2. Locomotor activity and rearing were increased in OB rats compared to sham-operated controls. The effect of various doses of DMI (administered orally twice daily for 21 days) on these behavioural measures was examined. A dose of 7.5 mg kg-1 provided optimal reversal of hyperlocomotion and increased rearing in OB rats, without changing these measures in sham-operated controls. 3. The time course of DMI (7.5 mg kg-1) on behavioural and neurochemical measures was examined. locomotion and rearing in OB rats were not significantly altered after 7 days, were significantly attenuated after 14 days and were normalized after 21 days. 4. After 7 days of DMI administration the number of beta-adrenoceptors was lower in frontal and occipital cortex and hippocampus. This reduction was largely restricted to the beta 1-adrenoceptor subtype. Administration of DMI for 14 or 21 days did not further reduce the number of beta-adrenoceptors. The DMI induced reduction in beta-adrenoceptors did not differ in OB and sham-operated control rats. 5. DMI administration for up to 21 days produced a progressive reduction in the number of 5-HT2A receptors in frontal cortex, without significant alterations in occipital cortex. 6. The time course of the reduction in the number of 5-HT2A receptors was similar to that of the DMI-induced behavioural changes whereas that for the reduction in beta-adrenoceptors was clearly different. 7. The present results suggest that the action of DMI in this animal model is unlikely to be directly related to a reduction in beta-adrenoceptors but may be related to a reduction in frontal cortical 5-HT2A receptors.


N T Mudunkotuwa, R W Horton. Desipramine administration in the olfactory bulbectomized rat: changes in brain beta-adrenoceptor and 5-HT2A binding sites and their relationship to behaviour. British journal of pharmacology. 1996 Apr;117(7):1481-6

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PMID: 8730743

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