The effects of the co-administration of the α₁-adrenoreceptor antagonist prazosin on the anxiolytic effect of citalopram in conditioned fear stress in the rat

Naoki Takamura, Takahiro Masuda, Takeshi Inoue, Shin Nakagawa, Tsukasa Koyama
Progress in Neuro-psychopharmacology & Biological Psychiatry 2012 October 1, 39 (1): 107-11
Several studies have shown that the α₁-adrenoreceptor is involved in controlling extracellular serotonin levels. The administration of the α₁-adrenoreceptor antagonist prazosin was shown to decrease extracellular serotonin levels in the hippocampus, the prefrontal cortex and the raphe nucleus, while the administration of the α₁-adrenoreceptor agonist cirazoline was shown to increase serotonin levels. Furthermore, the elevation of serotonin levels induced by the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) citalopram was attenuated by prazosin. Thus, α₁-adrenoreceptor antagonists may affect SSRI-induced increases in extracellular serotonin levels and their antidepressive and anxiolytic effects. However, little is known about the influence of α₁-adrenoreceptor antagonists on the behavioral pharmacological effects of SSRIs. The conditioned fear stress-induced freezing behavior is an animal model of anxiety and can detect the anxiolytic effect of SSRIs. To clarify whether an α₁-adrenoreceptor antagonist affects the anxiolytic action of SSRIs, we examined the effects of the co-administration of the α₁-adrenoreceptor antagonist prazosin and the SSRI citalopram using the contextual conditioned fear stress model. Low-dose prazosin (0.03 mg/kg) significantly attenuated the citalopram (3 mg/kg)-induced decrease in conditioned freezing. Moreover, high-dose (0.5 mg/kg), but not low-dose (0.03 mg/kg), prazosin significantly attenuated citalopram (10 mg/kg)-induced decreases in conditioned freezing. These drugs did not affect the spontaneous motor activity of the rats. Therefore, these results suggest that blocking the α₁-adrenoreceptor decreases the anxiolytic effect of citalopram.

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