Serotonin (5-HT) is one of the major neuromodulators present in the mammalian brain and has been shown to play a role in multiple physiological processes. The mechanisms by which 5-HT modulates cortical network activity, however, are not yet fully understood. We investigated the effects of 5-HT on slow oscillations (SOs), a synchronized cortical network activity universally present across species. SOs are observed during anesthesia and are considered to be the default cortical activity pattern. We discovered that (±)3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) and fenfluramine, two potent 5-HT releasers, inhibit SOs within the entorhinal cortex (EC) in anesthetized mice. Combining opto- and pharmacogenetic manipulations with in vitro electrophysiological recordings, we uncovered that somatostatin-expressing (Sst) interneurons activated by the 5-HT2A receptor (5-HT2AR) play an important role in the suppression of SOs. Since 5-HT2AR signaling is involved in the etiology of different psychiatric disorders and mediates the psychological effects of many psychoactive serotonergic drugs, we propose that the newly discovered link between Sst interneurons and 5-HT will contribute to our understanding of these complex topics.
Published: Mar 2021