The effects of the anxiolytic drug buspirone and its metabolite 1-(2-pyrimidinyl)-piperazine (1PP) were studied on the serotoninergic system in the hippocampus of freely moving rats. Pulse voltammetry was used in association with chronically implanted carbon fiber microelectrodes to record 5HIAA, the serotonin metabolite in the extracellular space, almost continuously. Buspirone, 2.5 mg/kg i.p. was ineffective, but the dose of 10 mg/kg lowered 5HIAA between about 45 and 150 min; the same decrease was obtained with 40 mg/kg. This effect can be explained by an agonistic action on 5HT1 A receptors. The metabolite 1PP, which displays α2 adrenoceptor blocking properties, either had no effect or raised extracellular 5HIAA, depending on the dose (1.5 or 6 mg/kg). The rapid metabolization of buspirone to 1PP can thus explain the short time course of the drug effect. Pretreatment with 1PP could only partially prevent buspirone's effect on the serotoninergic system.
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