Stimulation of serotonin2C receptors influences cocaine-seeking behavior in response to drug-associated stimuli in rats

Silvia Burbassi, Luigi Cervo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Rationale: It has been suggested that the increase in serotonin transmission induced by indirect agonists such as fenfluramine and fluoxetine attenuates cue-elicited reinstatement of cocaine-seeking in rats through a 5-HT2C receptor-dependent mechanism. Objective: We investigated whether Ro 60-0175, a nonselective 5-HT2B-2C agonist, influences cue-elicited reinstatement of cocaine-seeking behavior. We evaluated the 5-HT2C receptor's role in Ro 60-0175 by studying its interaction with SB-242,084, a selective 5-HT2C antagonist. The study also explored whether Ro 60-0175 influences cue-elicited seeking behavior associated with sucrose, a highly palatable nutritive reinforcer. Materials and methods: Different groups of free-feeding rats were trained to associate discriminative stimuli (SDs) with the availability of cocaine or a sucrose pellet or no-reward in two-lever operant cages. Cocaine and sucrose pellets were available under an FR1 schedule of reinforcement, and each reinforcer was followed by a 20-s timeout signaled by a cue light coming above the active lever. After extinction of reinforced responding in the absence of cue, the reinforcer-associated stimuli were reintroduced in reinstatement sessions in which reinforcers were withheld. Results: Ro 60-0175, at IP doses from 0.1 to 1 mg/kg, dose-dependently reduced cocaine-seeking behavior, while 1 mg/kg had no such effect for the sucrose pellet. Pretreatment with 1 mg/kg SC SB-242,084 completely prevented the effect on cocaine-seeking behavior. Conclusions: These findings, provided they can be extrapolated to abstinent human addicts, suggest therapeutic potential for the selective 5-HT2C agonist in preventing cue-controlled cocaine-seeking and relapse.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-27
Number of pages13
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2008


  • 5-HT receptors
  • Cocaine-seeking behavior
  • Drug cue
  • Ro 60-0175
  • Serotonin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


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