• antipsychotics;
  • clozapine;
  • nucleus accumbens;
  • phencyclidine;
  • schizophrenia


In the present study, the comparative mechanisms of action of phencyclidine (PCP) and amphetamine were addressed employing the parameter of locomotion in rats. PCP-induced locomotion (PLOC) was potently blocked by the selective serotonin (5-HT)2A vs. D2 antagonists, SR46349, MDL100,907, ritanserin and fananserin, which barely affected amphetamine-induced locomotion (ALOC). In contrast, the selective D2 vs. 5-HT2A antagonists, eticlopride, raclopride and amisulpride, preferentially inhibited ALOC vs. PLOC. The potency of these drugs and 12 multireceptorial antipsychotics in inhibiting PLOC vs. ALOC correlated significantly with affinities at 5-HT2A vs. D2 receptors, respectively. Amphetamine and PCP both dose dependently increased dialysate levels of dopamine (DA) and 5-HT in the nucleus accumbens, striatum and frontal cortex (FCX) of freely moving rats, but PCP was proportionally more effective than amphetamine in elevating levels of 5-HT vs. DA in the accumbens. Further, whereas microinjection of PCP into the accumbens elicited locomotion, its introduction into the striatum or FCX was ineffective. The action of intra-accumbens PCP, but not intra-accumbens amphetamine, was abolished by SR46349 and clozapine. Parachloroamphetamine, which depleted accumbens pools of 5-HT but not DA, likewise abolished PLOC without affecting ALOC. In contrast, intra-accumbens 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA), which depleted DA but not 5-HT, abolished ALOC but only partially attenuated PLOC. In conclusion, PLOC involves (indirect) activation of accumbens-localized 5-HT2A receptors by 5-HT. PLOC is, correspondingly, more potently blocked than ALOC by antipsychotics displaying marked affinity at 5-HT2A receptors.