Serotonin (5-HT) is involved in the neuroendocrine regulation of prolactin (PRL) secretion as a stimulator. Within the last decade several 5-HT receptor types have been identified, but their ndividual role in the mediation of the PRL response to 5-HT is only partly understood. We investigated in conscious male rats the effect of different 5-HT1, 5-HT2, and 5-HT3 receptor antagonists on the PRL response to 5-HT or to the 5-HT precursor 5-hydroxytrytophan (5-HTP) which was administered in combination with the 5-HT reuptake inhibitor fluoxetine. 5-HT (0.5–5.0 mg/kg BW i.v.) or 5-HTP (25–100 mg/kg i.p.) in combination with saline or fluoxetine (10 mg/kg i.p.) increased the plasma PRL concentration dose-dependently. Pretreatment with the 5-HT1+ 2 receptor antagonist methysergide (2.5 mg/kg i.p.) prevented the stimulatory effect of 5-HT or 5-HTP + fluoxetine. Pretreatment with the 5-HT2 receptor antagonists ketanserin or LY 53857 (2.5 mg/kg i.p.) inhibited the PRL response to 5-HT by approximately 80% and to 5-HTP + fluoxetine approximately 100%. A higher dose (10 mg/kg) of the 5-HT2 receptor antagonists possessed only 50% inhibitory effect. Pretreatment with the 5-HT3 receptor antagonists ICS 205-930 or GR 38032F (0.05–2.5 mg/kg i.p.) inhibited the PRL response induced by 5-HT or by 5-HTP + fluoxetine. The maximal inhibitory effect (approximately 80%) was obtained by a dose of 0.1 mg/kg of both compounds. Higher doses of GR 38032F had a similar inhibitory effect, whereas the inhibitory effect of ICS 205-930 decreased significantly with higher doses. The findings demonstrate for the first time that 5-HT3 receptors are involved in the 5-HT-induced PRL release, and further indicate that the serotonergic system stimulates PRL secretion via combined activation of 5-HT1, 5-HT2 and 5-HT3 receptors.

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