Directly observable behavioral effects of lorcaserin in rats

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


(1R)-8-chloro-1-methyl-2,3,4,5-tetrahydro-1H-3-benzazepine (lorcaserin) is approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration for treating obesity, and its therapeutic effects are thought to result from agonist activity at serotonin (5-HT)2C receptors. Lorcaserin has affinity for other 5-HT receptor subtypes, although its activity at those subtypes is not fully described. The current study compared the behavioral effects of lorcaserin (0.0032-32.0 mg/kg) to the effects of other 5-HT receptor selective agonists in rats (n = 8). The 5-HT2C receptor selective agonist 1-(3-chlorophenyl)piperazine (mCPP, 0.032-1.0 mg/kg) and lorcaserin induced yawning which was attenuated by the 5-HT2C receptor selective antagonist 6-chloro- 5-methyl-N-(6-[(2-methylpyridin-3-yl)oxy]pydidin-3-yl)indoline- 1-carboxamide (1.0 mg/kg). The 5-HT2A receptor selective agonist 2,5-dimethoxy-4-methylamphetamine (0.1-3.2 mg/kg) induced head twitching, which was attenuated by the 5-HT2A receptor selective antagonist R-(1)-2,3-dimethoxyphenyl-1- [2-(4-piperidine)-methanol] (MDL 100907, 0.01 mg/kg), lorcaserin (3.2 mg/kg), and mCPP (3.2 mg/kg). In rats pretreated with MDL 100907 (1.0 mg/kg), lorcaserin also induced head twitching. At larger doses, lorcaserin produced forepaw treading, which was attenuated by the 5-HT1A receptor selective antagonist N-(2-[4-(2-methoxyphenyl)-1-piperazinyl]ethyl)-N-(2-pyridyl) cyclohexanecarboxamide (0.178 mg/kg). While the behavioral effects of lorcaserin in rats are consistent with it having agonist activity at 5-HT2C receptors, these data suggest that at larger doses it also has agonist activity at 5-HT2A and possibly 5-HT1A receptors. Mounting evidence suggests that 5-HT2C receptor agonists might be effective for treating drug abuse. A more complete description of the activity of lorcaserin at 5-HT receptor subtypes will facilitate a better understanding of the mechanisms that mediate its therapeutic effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)381-385
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology


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