Serotonergic neurotransmission in the ventral hippocampus is enhanced by corticosterone and altered by chronic amphetamine treatment

J. L. Barr, G. L. Forster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


The ventral hippocampus modulates anxiety-like behavior in rats, and serotonergic transmission within the hippocampus facilitates adaptation to stress. Chronic amphetamine treatment results in anxiety-like behavior in rats and reduced monoamine concentrations in the ventral hippocampus. Since reduced hippocampal serotonergic transmission in response to stress is observed in rats that display high anxiety-like behavior, anxiety states in amphetamine-treated rats may be associated with reduced stress-related serotonergic transmission in the hippocampus. Therefore, using in vivo microdialysis in anesthetized rats, we investigated the effect of corticosterone infused locally into the ventral hippocampus on serotonergic transmission, and the effect of chronic amphetamine pretreatment on corticosteroid receptor protein expression and the corticosterone-induced serotonergic response. Extracellular serotonin in the ventral hippocampus was increased by corticosterone in drug naive rats, and this corticosterone-induced serotonin augmentation was blocked by the glucocorticoid receptor antagonist mifepristone. Furthermore, chronic pretreatment with amphetamine abolished the serotonin response to physiologically relevant corticosterone levels and reduced glucocorticoid receptor protein expression. Together, our results suggest that chronic amphetamine exposure reduces serotonergic neurotransmission, in part via alterations to glucocorticoid receptor-facilitation of serotonin release in the rat ventral hippocampus. Reduced serotonergic activity in the ventral hippocampus may contribute to altered stress responses and adaptive coping following repeated drug exposure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)105-114
Number of pages10
StatePublished - May 19 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Addiction
  • Anxiety
  • Glucocorticoid
  • Hippocampus
  • Psychostimulant
  • Serotonin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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