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Animal experimental studies suggest that the therapeutic effect of selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may involve neuroadaptive changes in pre- and post-synaptic serotonin1A (5-HT1A) receptors. We used the endocrine and hypothermic responses to the 5-HT1A receptor agonist, gepirone (20 mg orally), to assess 5-HT1A receptor sensitivity in 37 healthy male volunteers who were studied before and following random double-blind, allocation to treatment with paroxetine, nefazodone or placebo for 17 days. Following antidepressant drug treatment, hypothermic responses to gepirone were markedly decreased by paroxetine but only slightly diminished by nefazodone. Paroxetine also lowered the growth hormone and cortisol responses to gepirone. There was no change in either hypothermic or endocrine response following placebo treatment. Our results suggest that paroxetine treatment produces a striking attenuation of measures of both pre- and post-synaptic 5-HT1A receptor function. Nefazodone appears to decrease the sensitivity of 5-HT1A autoreceptors to some extent and this effect may contribute to its antidepressant activity.


Journal article


Psychopharmacology (Berl)

Publication Date





296 - 302


Adult, Antidepressive Agents, Second-Generation, Blood Platelets, Double-Blind Method, Humans, Hydrocortisone, Hypothermia, Male, Middle Aged, Paroxetine, Pyrimidines, Receptors, Serotonin, Receptors, Serotonin, 5-HT1, Serotonin, Serotonin Receptor Agonists, Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors, Triazoles