Serotonin2 receptors have been implicated in a variety of behavioral and physiological processes, as well as a number of neuropsychiatrie disorders. To specify the brain regions and specific cell types possessing serotonin2 receptors, we conducted an immunocytochemical study of the rat brain using a polyclonal serotonin2 receptor antibody. Perfusion-fixed rat brain sections were processed for immunocytochemistry and reactivity was visualized using an immunoperoxidase reaction. Numerous small, round neurons were heavily labeled in the granular and periglomerular regions of the olfactory bulb. Heavy labeling of medium-sized multipolar and bipolar neurons was also seen in olfactory regions of the ventral forebrain, including the anterior olfactory nucleus and olfactory tubercle. Other regions of the basal forebrain exhibiting high levels of immunoreactivity were the nucleus accumbens, ventral pallidum, Islands of Calleja, fundus striatum and endopyriform nucleus. Immunoreactive neurons were also seen in the lateral amygdala. A dense band of small, round cells was stained in layer 2 of pyriform cortex. In neocortex, a very sparse and even distribution of bipolar and multipolar neurons was seen throughout layers II-VI. A much more faintly labeled population of oval cells was observed in the deep layer of retrosplenial and posterior cingulate cortex, and in the granular layer of somatosensory frontoparietal cortex. A moderate number of medium bipolar and multipolar cells were scattered throughout the neostriatum, and a moderate number of pyramidal and pyramidal-like cells were seen in the CA fields of the hippocampus. Diencephalic areas showing immunolabeling included the medial habenula and anterior pretectal nucleus, with less labeling in the ventral lateral geniculate. In the hindbrain, two dense populations of large multipolar cells were heavily labeled in the pedunculopontine and laterodorsal tegmental nuclei, with lesser labeling in the periaqueductal gray, superior colliculus, spinal trigeminal nucleus and nucleus of the solitary tract. Based on the distribution, localization and morphology of immunoreactive neurons in these regions, we hypothesize that subpopulations of serotonin2 containing cells may be GABAergic interneurons or cholinergic neurons. Further, the observed distribution suggests that the physiological effects of serotonin acting through serotonin2 receptors are mediated by a relatively small number of cells in the brain. These observations may have strong functional implications for the pharmacological treatment of certain neuropsychiatrie disorders.
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