Serotonin 5-HT2B receptors are required for 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine-induced hyperlocomotion and 5-HT release in vivo and in vitro
Doly S, Valjent E, Setola V, Callebert J, Hervé D, Launay JM, Maroteaux L.
Inserm, U839 and Université Pierre et Marie Curie-Paris 6,
Institut du Fer à Moulin,
Unité Mixte de Recherche-S0839,
Paris 75005, France.
J Neurosci. 2008 Mar 12;28(11):2933-40.


The "club drug" 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA; also known as ecstasy) binds preferentially to and reverses the activity of the serotonin transporter, causing release of serotonin [5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT)] stores from nerve terminals. Subsequent activation of postsynaptic 5-HT receptors by released 5-HT has been shown to be critical for the unique psychostimulatory effects of MDMA. In contrast, the effects of direct activation of presynaptic and/or postsynaptic receptors by MDMA have received far less attention, despite the agonist actions of the drug itself at 5-HT(2) receptors, in particular the 5-HT(2B) receptor. Here we show that acute pharmacological inhibition or genetic ablation of the 5-HT(2B) receptor in mice completely abolishes MDMA-induced hyperlocomotion and 5-HT release in nucleus accumbens and ventral tegmental area. Furthermore, the 5-HT(2B) receptor dependence of MDMA-stimulated release of endogenous 5-HT from superfused midbrain synaptosomes suggests that 5-HT(2B) receptors act, unlike any other 5-HT receptor, presynaptically to affect MDMA-stimulated 5-HT release. Thus, our findings reveal a novel regulatory component in the actions of MDMA and represent the first demonstration that 5-HT(2B) receptors play an important role in the brain, i.e., modulation of 5-HT release. As such, 5-HT(2B) receptor antagonists may serve as promising therapeutic drugs for MDMA abuse.

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