Effect of chronic administration of antidepressants on α2-adrenoceptors in the locus coeruleus and its projection fields in rat brain determined by quantitative autoradiography

Gyula B. Kovachich, Alan Frazer, Carl E. Aronson

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40 Scopus citations


The density of α2-adrenoceptors, using3H-idazoxan as the radioligand, was determined by quantitative cutoradiography in the locus coeruleus and in 13 noradrenergic projection fields following chronic Idministration of drugs acting on noradrenergic and/or Seronergic neurons. Protriptyline, an inhibitor of the uptake of norepinephrine, and mianserin, an α2-adrenoceptor antagonist, reduced the binding of3H-idazoxan only in the locus coeruleus. Phenelzine, an inhibitor of both type A and type B monoamine oxidase (MAO), reduced the binding of 3H-idazoxan in the locus CM'Ilens and in several areas with noradrenergic intimation from tegmental cell bodies. Clorgyline, a stltctive inhibitor of type A MAO, had no effect. Of the two selective inhibitors of serotonin uptake, citalopram caused a modest increase in binding only in one terminal field area, whereas sertraline had no effect. Although these antidepressants did not produce consistent effects on α2-adrenoceptors, protriptyline, mianserin, and phenelzine were similar in that they all decreased the binding of3H-idazoxan in the locus coeruleus without widely affecting its binding in the coerulean terminal fields. Deprenyl, a selective inhibitor of type B AO, the only drug in this study without proven antidepressant efficacy, differed from all other drugs in that it decreased the binding of 3H-idazoxan both in the locus coeruleus as well as in most terminal fields with primarily coerulean noradrenergic innervation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-65
Number of pages9
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • Antidepressants
  • H-Idazoxan
  • Locus uxruleus
  • α-adrenoceptors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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