Acute and chronic nicotine exposures differentially affect central serotonin 2A receptor function: Focus on the lateral habenula
IJMS. 2020-03-09; 21(5): 1873
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Nicotine addiction is a serious public health problem causing millions of deaths worldwide. Serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine; 5-HT) is involved in central nervous system (CNS) nicotine effects, and it has been suggested as a promising pharmacological target for smoking cessation. In this regard, what is particularly interesting are the 5-HT2A receptors (5-HT2ARs) and the lateral habenula (LHb), a central area in nicotine addiction that we showed to be under a strong 5-HT2AR-modulation. Single-cell extracellular recording of LHb neurons was used to study the 5-HT2AR function by intravenously administrating the potent agonist TCB-2. Acute nicotine (2 mg/kg, intraperitoneal, i.p.) and chronic nicotine (6 mg/kg/day for 14 days) differently affected both the 5-HT2AR-immuno reactive (IR) neuron number and the 5-HT2AR immunostaining area in the different brain areas studied. After acute nicotine, TCB-2 cumulative doses (5–640 µg/kg, intravenous, i.v.) bidirectionally affected the activity of 74% of LHb recorded neurons. After chronic nicotine treatment, TCB-2 was only capable of decreasing the LHb firing rate. The expression of 5-HT2AR under acute and chronic nicotine exposure was studied in the LHb and in other brain areas involved in nicotine effects in rats by using immunohistochemistry. These data reveal that acute and chronic nicotine differentially affect the 5-HT2AR function in different brain areas and this might be relevant in nicotine addiction and its treatment.