Relation between yawning behavior and central serotonergic neuronal system in rats

Naunyn-Schmiedeberg's Archives of Pharmacology
S OkuyamaH Aihara


Subcutaneously (s.c.) administered apomorphine (0.0125-0.4 mg/kg) or physostigmine (0.025-0.4 mg/kg) to rats elicited yawning. The dose-response curves were bell-shaped. The peak effects of apomorphine and physostigmine were observed with a dose of 0.1 mg/kg of each drug. Yawning elicited by apomorphine (0.1 mg/kg) or physostigmine (0.1 mg/kg) was reduced by intraperitoneally (i.p.) administered 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP, 50-200 mg/kg, given 30 min before). Yawning elicited by apomorphine but not by physostigmine was enhanced by p-chlorophenylalanine (p-CPA, 25-400 mg/kg i.p., given 24 h before). Apomorphine elicited but not physostigmine-elicited yawning was enhanced by pretreatment with 5,7-dihydroxytryptamine (5,7-DHT, 8 micrograms/rat, given 14 days before into the dorsal raphe). This treatment led to a 35% depletion of serotonin (5-HT) in the striatum. 5-HTP, p-CPA or 5,7-DHT given alone did not elicit yawning. Bilateral, intrastriatal microinjection of apomorphine (1.5-50 micrograms/site) but not physostigmine (5-50 micrograms/site) elicited yawning. The dose-response curve was also bell-shaped. These results indicate that central serotonergic pathways play an important role in modulating drug-elicited yawning in rats.


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