Characterization of the discriminative stimulus effects of lorcaserin in rats

Katherine M. Serafine, Kenner C. Rice, Charles P. France

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Lorcaserin is approved by the Food and Drug Administration for treating obesity and is under consideration for treating substance use disorders; it has agonist properties at serotonin (5-HT)2C receptors and might also have agonist properties at other 5-HT receptor subtypes. This study used drug discrimination to investigate the mechanism(s) of action of lorcaserin. Male Sprague–Dawley rats discriminated 0.56 mg/kg i.p. lorcaserin from saline while responding under a fixed-ratio 5 schedule for food. Lorcaserin (0.178-1.0 mg/kg) dose-dependently increased lorcaserin-lever responding. The 5-HT2C receptor agonist mCPP and the 5-HT2A receptor agonist DOM each occasioned greater than 90% lorcaserin-lever responding in seven of eight rats. The 5-HT1A receptor agonist 8-OH-DPAT occasioned greater than 90% lorcaserin-lever responding in four of seven rats. The 5-HT2C receptor selective antagonist SB 242084 attenuated lorcaserin-lever responding in all eight rats and the 5-HT2A receptor selective antagonist MDL 100907 attenuated lorcaserin-lever responding in six of seven rats. These results suggest that, in addition to agonist properties at 5-HT2C receptors, lorcaserin also has agonist properties at 5-HT2A and 5-HT1A receptors. Because some drugs with 5-HT2A receptor agonist properties are abused, it is important to fully characterize the behavioral effects of lorcaserin while considering its potential for treating substance use disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)107-116
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the experimental analysis of behavior
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016


  • drug discrimination
  • lever press
  • lorcaserin
  • rat
  • serotonin receptor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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