A search for colocalization of serotonin 5-HT2A and 5-HT1A receptors in the rat medial prefrontal and entorhinal cortices-immunohistochemical studies
Recently developed antipsychotic drugs ameliorating the negative symptoms of schizophrenia act not only on dopamine D2 receptors but also on serotonin 2A (5-HT2A) and 1A (5-HT1A) receptors in specific regions of the cerebral cortex. Since it is not yet known whether serotonin 5-HT1A and 5-HT2A receptors coexist in the same population of neurons in the cortex, the present study investigated their colocalization in the rat medial prefrontal (MPC) and entorhinal (EC) cortices. Using antibodies that recognize epitopes specific to the serotonin 5-HT2A or 5-HT1A receptors, studies employing confocal microscopy have shown that in the MPC 5-HT2A receptors are preferentially, if not exclusively, present on the pyramidal neurons and that 5-HT1A-immunopositive material is present in the axonal hillocks and, to lower extend, in cytoplasm of presumably pyramidal cell bodies. With the regard of labeling of active receptors (i.e. present in shafts and axonal hillocks) we found that about 38% of neurons positive for the presence of serotonin 5-HT2A receptors, are also positive for serotonin 5-HT1A receptors in the MPC. In the EC, only 22% of serotonin 5-HT2A-positive neurons were positive for serotonin 5-HT1A receptor-immunoreactivity. In the respect of cytoplasmatic serotonin 5-HT1A receptor-immunoreactivity (possibly inactive receptors), 65% and 73% of serotonin 5-HT2A receptor-positive neurons were colocalized with serotonin 5-HT1A receptors in the MPC and EC, respectively. Data obtained on serotonin 5-HT2A and 5-HT1A receptor localization provide anatomical grounds for at least three distinct populations of pyramidal neurons, one governed only by 5-HT2A, one only by 5-HT1A and one by both types of serotonin receptors.