The 5-HT5A receptor regulates excitability in the auditory startle circuit: Functional implications for sensorimotor gating

Paul C.P. Curtin, Violeta Medan, Heike Neumeister, Daniel R. Bronson, Thomas Preuss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Here we applied behavioral testing, pharmacology, and in vivo electrophysiology to determine the function of the serotonin 5-HT5A receptor in goldfish startle plasticity and sensorimotor gating. In an initial series of behavioral experiments, we characterized the effects of a selective 5-HT5A antagonist, SB-699551 (3-cyclopentyl-N-[2-(dimethylamino)ethyl]-N-[(4-{[(2-phenylethyl)amino]methyl}-4- biphenylyl)methyl]propanamide dihydrochloride), on prepulse inhibition of the acoustic startle response. Those experiments showed a dose-dependent decline in startle rates in prepulse conditions. Subsequent behavioral experiments showed that SB-699551 also reduced baseline startle rates (i.e., without prepulse). To determine the cellular mechanisms underlying these behaviors, we tested the effects of two distinct selective 5-HT5A antagonists, SB-699551 and A-843277 (N-(2,6-dimethoxybenzyl)-N'[4-(4-fluorophenyl)thiazol- 2-yl]guanidine), on the intrinsic membrane properties and synaptic sound response of the Mauthner cell (M-cell), the decision-making neuron of the startle circuit. Auditory-evoked postsynaptic potentials recorded in the M-cell were similarly attenuated after treatment with either 5-HT5A antagonist (SB-699551, 26.41±3.98% reduction; A-843277, 17.52±6.24% reduction). This attenuation was produced by a tonic (intrinsic) reduction in M-cell input resistance, likely mediated by a Cl- conductance, that added to the extrinsic inhibition produced by an auditory prepulse. Interestingly, the effector mechanisms underlying neural prepulse inhibition itself were unaffected by antagonist treatment. In summary, these results provide an in vivo electrophysiological characterization of the 5-HT5A receptor and its behavioral relevance and provide a new perspective on the interaction of intrinsic and extrinsic modulatory mechanisms in startle plasticity and sensorimotor gating.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10011-10020
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number24
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


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