Serotonin exerts a powerful influence on neuronal excitability. In this study, we investigated the effects of serotonin on different neuronal populations in prefrontal cortex (PFC), a major area controlling emotion and cognition. Using whole-cell recordings in PFC slices, we found that bath application of 5-HT dose-dependently increased the firing of FS (fast spiking) interneurons, and decreased the firing of pyramidal neurons. The enhancing effect of 5-HT in FS interneurons was mediated by 5-HT2 receptors, while the reducing effect of 5-HT in pyramidal neurons was mediated by 5-HT1 receptors. Fluoxetine, the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, also induced a concentration-dependent increase in the excitability of FS interneurons, but had little effect on pyramidal neurons. In rats with chronic fluoxetine treatment, the excitability of FS interneurons was significantly increased, while pyramidal neurons remained unchanged. Fluoxetine injection largely occluded the enhancing effect of 5-HT in FS interneurons, but did not alter the reducing effect of 5-HT in pyramidal neurons. These data suggest that the excitability of PFC interneurons and pyramidal neurons is regulated by exogenous 5-HT in an opposing manner, and FS interneurons are the major target of Fluoxetine. It provides a framework for understanding the action of 5-HT and antidepressants in altering PFC network activity
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