5-Hydroxytryptamine 2A receptors of the dorsal raphe nucleus modulate panic-like behaviours and mediate fear-induced antinociception elicited by neuronal activation in the central nucleus of the inferior colliculus.
Laboratory of Neuroanatomy and Neuropsychobiology, Department of Pharmacology, Ribeirão Preto Medical School of the University of São Paulo (FMRP-USP), Av. Bandeirantes, 3900, Ribeirão Preto, 14049-900, São Paulo, Brazil; NAP-USP-Neurobiology of Emotions Research Centre (NuPNE), Ribeirão Preto Medical School of the University of São Paulo (FMRP-USP), Av. Bandeirantes, 3900, Ribeirão Preto, 14049-900, São Paulo, Brazil; Behavioural Neurosciences Institute (INeC), Avenida do Café, 2450, Ribeirão Preto, 14220-030, São Paulo, Brazil. Electronic address: [Email]
It has been established that chemical stimulation of the inferior colliculus (IC) of laboratory animals evokes fear-related defensive responses, which are considered panic attack-like behaviours. In addition, there is evidence that defensive reactions provoked by chemical stimulation of midbrain tectum neurons may induce an antinociceptive response. Morphologically, the IC receives projections from other mesencephalic structures, such as the dorsal raphe nucleus (DRN), a region rich in serotonergic neurons that play a critical role in the control of defensive behaviours. Moreover, this monoaminergic brainstem reticular nucleus is suggested to comprise the endogenous pain modulatory system. The aim of the present study was to investigate the role of DRN 5-hydroxytryptamine 2A (5-HT2A) receptors in Wistar rats by local microinjection of R-96544 (a selective antagonist of the 5-HT2A receptor) at doses of 5, 10 or 15 nM on defensive reactions and fear-induced antinociception evoked by chemical stimulation of the central nucleus of the IC with NMDA (6, 9 or 12 nmol). Behavioural responses were analysed for 10 min, and then the nociceptive threshold was measured at 10 min intervals for 70 min. The dose of 12 nmol of NMDA was the most effective in causing panic attack-like defensive behaviours and much higher hypoalgesia. In addition, both effects were attenuated by pretreatment of the DRN with R-96544. These findings suggest the critical participation of DRN 5-HT2A receptors in the modulation of panic attack-like defensive behaviour and unconditioned fear-induced antinociception organised by neurons in the central nucleus of the IC.