Modulation of the discriminative stimulus properties of cocaine: Comparison of the effects of fluoxetine with 5-HT(1A) and 5-HT(1B) receptor agonists

P. M. Callahan, K. A. Cunningham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

74 Scopus citations


The present investigation examined the ability of serotonin (5-HT) agonists to substitute for, or alter (i.e. enhance or antagonize), the discriminative stimulus properties of a moderately low dose of cocaine (5 mg/kg) utilizing a two-lever, water-reinforced FR 20 drug discrimination procedure in rats. In substitution tests, the 5-HT(1A) receptor partial agonists buspirone and gepirone, the 5-HT(1A/B) receptor agonist RU 24969 and the 5-HT(1B/2C) receptor agonist m-trifluoromethyl-phenylpiperazine (TFMPP) failed to substitute for the cocaine stimulus, although RU 24969 did engender a maximum of 72% cocaine-lever responding. Fluoxetine (4 mg/kg) engendered primarily saline-appropriate responding. In combination tests, a fixed dose of either fluoxetine (4 mg/kg), RU 24969 (0.5 mg/kg) or TFMPP (0.5 mg/kg) produced a leftward shift in the cocaine dose-response curve (0.313-5 mg/kg). In contrast, buspirone (2.5-20 mg/kg) resulted in a dose-dependent attenuation (approximately 60% reduction) of the cocaine stimulus. Moreover, a dose of 10 mg/kg of buspirone co-administered with various doses of cocaine (1.25-10 mg/kg) engendered a rightward shift in the cocaine dose-response curve. Gepirone in combination with cocaine neither enhanced nor antagonized the cocaine discriminative stimulus. Whereas 5-HT agonists do not fully substitute for cocaine, the present results demonstrate that 5-HT(1B), but not 5-HT(1A), receptor agonists can modulate the discriminative stimulus properties of cocaine in a manner similar to that observed following administration of the 5-HT reuptake inhibitor fluoxetine. The ability of buspirone, but not gepirone, to attenuate the cocaine stimulus probably reflects its dopamine (DA) D2 receptor antagonist properties and not its efficacy at 5-HT(1A) receptors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)373-381
Number of pages9
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 1997



  • 5-HT reuptake inhibition
  • 5-HT(1A) receptor
  • 5-HT(1B) receptor
  • cocaine
  • dopamine (DA)
  • drug discrimination
  • serotonin (5-HT)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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