An assessment of the effects of serotonin 6 (5-HT6) receptor antagonists in rodent models of learning. Academic Article uri icon


  • Antagonists of serotonin 6 (5-HT6) receptors have been reported to enhance cognition in animal models of learning, although this finding has not been universal. We have assessed the therapeutic potential of the specific 5-HT6 receptor antagonists 4-amino-N-(2,6-bis-methylamino-pyrimidin-4-yl)-benzenesulfonamide (Ro 04-6790) and 5-chloro-N-(4-methoxy-3-piperazin-1-yl-phenyl)-3-methyl-2-benzothiophenesulfonamide (SB-271046) in rodent models of cognitive function. Although mice express the 5-HT6 receptor and the function of this receptor has been investigated in mice, all reports of activity with 5-HT6 receptor antagonists have used rat models. In the present study, receptor binding revealed that the pharmacological properties of the mouse receptor are different from the rat and human receptor: Ro 04-6790 does not bind to the mouse 5-HT6 receptor, so all in vivo testing included in the present report was conducted in rats. We replicated previous reports that 5-HT6 receptor antagonists produce a stretching syndrome previously shown to be mediated through cholinergic mechanisms, but Ro 04-6790 and SB-271046 failed to attenuate scopolamine-induced deficits in a test of contextual fear conditioning. We also failed to replicate the significant effects reported previously in both an autoshaping task and in a version of the Morris water maze. The results of our experiments are not consistent with previous reports that suggested that 5-HT6 antagonists might have therapeutic potential for cognitive disorders.

publication date

  • November 2003