The mammalian circadian clock is synchronized to the day : night cycle by light. Serotonin modulates the circadian effects of light, with agonists inhibiting response to light and antagonists enhancing responses to light. A special class of serotonergic compounds, the mixed 5-HT1A agonist/antagonists, potentiates light-induced phase advances by up to 400% when administered acutely. In this study, we examine the effects of one of these mixed 5-HT1A agonist/antagonists, BMY7378, when administered chronically. Thirty adult male hamsters were administered either vehicle or BMY7378 via surgically implanted osmotic mini pumps over a period of 28 days. In a light : dark cycle, chronic BMY7378 advanced the phase angle of entrainment, prolonged the duration of the active phase and attenuated the amplitude of the wheel-running rhythm during the early night. In constant darkness, chronic treatment with BMY7378 significantly attenuated light-induced phase advances, but had no significant effect on light-induced phase delays. Non-photic phase shifts to daytime administration of a 5-HT1A/7 agonist were also attenuated by chronic BMY7378 treatment. qRT-PCR analysis revealed that chronic BMY7378 treatment upregulated mRNA for 5-HT1A and 5-HT1B receptors in the hypothalamus and downregulated mRNA for 5-HT1A and monoamine oxidase-A in the brainstem. These results highlight adaptive changes of serotonin receptors in the brain to chronic treatment with BMY7378 and link such up- and downregulation to changes in important circadian parameters. Such long-term changes to the circadian system should be considered when patients are treated chronically with drugs that alter serotonergic function.
- mixed agonist/antagonist
- phase angle