Lurasidone is an atypical mood-stabilizing antipsychotic agent with unique receptor-binding profile, including 5-HT7 receptor (5-HT7R) antagonism. Effects of 5-HT7R antagonism on transmitter systems of schizophrenia and mood disorders, however, have not been well clarified. Thus, this study examined the mechanisms underlying the clinical effects of lurasidone by measuring mesocortical serotonergic transmission. Following systemic and local administrations of lurasidone, MK801 and 5-HT receptor modulators, we determined releases of 5-HT in dorsal raphe nucleus (DRN), mediodorsal thalamic nucleus (MDTN) and medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) and γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in DRN using multiprobe microdialysis with ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography (UHPLC). Serotonergic and GABAergic neurons in the DRN are predominantly regulated by inhibitory 5-HT1A receptor (5-HT1AR) and excitatory 5-HT7R, respectively. Lurasidone acutely generates GABAergic disinhibition by 5-HT7R antagonism, but concomitant its 5-HT1AR agonism prevents serotonergic hyperactivation induced by 5-HT7R inhibition. During treatments with 5-HT1AR antagonist in DRN, lurasidone dose-dependently increased 5-HT release in the DRN, MDTN and mPFC. Contrary, lurasidone chronically enhanced serotonergic transmission and GABAergic disinhibition in the DRN by desensitizing both 5-HT1AR and 5-HT7R. These effects of lurasidone acutely prevented MK801-evoked 5-HT release by GABAergic disinhibition via N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA)/glutamate receptor (NMDA-R)-mediated inhibition of 5-HT1AR function, but enhanced MK801-induced 5-HT release by desensitizing 5-HT1AR and 5-HT7R. These results indicate that acutely lurasidone fails to affect 5-HT release, but chronically enhances serotonergic transmission by desensitizing both 5-HT1AR and 5-HT7R. These unique properties of lurasidone ameliorate the dysfunctions of NMDA-R and augment antidepressive effects.
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