Sustained Activation of Postsynaptic 5-HT 2A Receptors Gates Plasticity at Prefrontal Cortex Synapses

Coralie Berthoux, Alexander Barre, Joël Bockaert, Philippe Marin, Carine Bécamel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


The prefrontal cortex (PFC) plays a key role in many high-level cognitive processes. It is densely innervated by serotonergic neurons originating from the dorsal and median raphe nuclei, which profoundly influence PFC activity. Among the 5-HT receptors abundantly expressed in PFC, 5-HT 2A receptors located in dendrites of layer V pyramidal neurons control neuronal excitability and mediate the psychotropic effects of psychedelic hallucinogens, but their impact on glutamatergic transmission and synaptic plasticity remains poorly characterized. Here, we show that a 20-min exposure of mouse PFC slices to serotonin or the 5-HT 2A receptor agonist 2,5-dimethoxy-4-iodoamphetamine (DOI) produces a long-lasting depression of evoked AMPA excitatory postsynaptic currents in layer V pyramidal neurons. DOI-elicited long-term depression (LTD) of synaptic transmission is absent in slices from 5-HT 2A receptor-deficient mice, is rescued by viral expression of 5-HT 2A receptor in pyramidal neurons and occludes electrically induced long-term depression. Furthermore, 5-HT 2A receptor activation promotes phosphorylation of GluA2 AMPA receptor subunit at Ser 880 and AMPA receptor internalization, indicating common mechanisms with electrically induced LTD. These findings provide one of the first examples of LTD gating under the control of a G protein-coupled receptor that might lead to imbalanced synaptic plasticity and memory impairment following a nonphysiological elevation of extracellular serotonin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1659-1669
Number of pages11
JournalCerebral Cortex
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • 5-HT 2A receptor
  • layer I/V synapses
  • long-term depression
  • prefrontal cortex
  • serotonin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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