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Keywords:

  • EMG;
  • locomotion;
  • locomotor recovery;
  • quipazine 8-OHDPAT;
  • serotonin;
  • spinal rat

Abstract

After thoracic spinal cord transection, a paraplegic syndrome occurs. Previous data showed that an acute administration of a 5-HT2 agonist (quipazine) could promote motor function recovery in spinal rats. However, continuous subdural perfusion of quipazine via an osmotic pump over 1 month proved to be more effective. The present study was designed to investigate the possible involvement of 5-HT1A receptors in such recovery. Motor performances and locomotor parameters were analysed in spinal animals receiving daily, for 1 month, a dose of the 5-HT1A agonist 8-OHDPAT. The results were compared to those obtained in spinal rats receiving either a placebo or quipazine in the same conditions. Using daily injections instead of continuous perfusion of either receptor agonist to spinal animals allowed characterization of short- and long-term consequences of pharmacological stimulation of 5-HT1A and 5-HT2 receptors on motor function recovery. Our data demonstrate that daily injections of a 5-HT1A agonist induce long-term, cumulative, positive effects on motor function recovery, as assessed by the improvement in the walking parameters observed before the ‘day-test’ injection. This might involve use-dependent processes depending on a chronic and/or repetitive stimulation of the spinal network for locomotion in relation to 5-HT receptor activation. A further improvement in the motor parameters, transiently observed following the injection, suggests a more direct action of 5-HT1A and 5-HT2 receptor activation on spinal neurons involved in motor pattern generation.