Antipsychotic drugs (APDs) were developed to treat schizophrenia in adults; however they have been increasingly prescribed (mostly “off-label”) for children and adolescents. This study aimed to investigate the effects of aripiprazole, olanzapine and risperidone on the binding of serotonin and dopamine receptors in juvenile rat brain regions that are involved in antipsychotic efficacy.
Male and female rats were treated orally with aripiprazole (1 mg/kg), olanzapine (1 mg/kg), risperidone (0.3 mg/kg) or vehicle 3 times/day starting from postnatal day 23 (±1 day) for 20 days. Quantitative autoradiography was performed to examine the receptor binding densities.
Olanzapine significantly decreased 5-HT2A (5-HT2AR) and 5-HT2C receptor (5-HT2CR) binding in the prefrontal cortex (PFC), cingulate cortex (Cg) and nucleus accumbens (NAc) of both male and female rats. In the caudate putamen (CPu), olanzapine attenuated 5-HT2AR binding in both genders, and reduced 5-HT2CR binding in male rats. Olanzapine increased D2 receptor (D2R) binding in the NAcS of male rats, but decreased it in females. Olanzapine increased D1 receptor (D1R) binding in the Cg, while aripiprazole decreased D1R binding in the PFC of males. Aripiprazole significantly reduced 5-HT2AR binding in the male PFC. Risperidone decreased 5-HT2AR binding in the PFC of female rats, while attenuating D1R binding in the PFC and Cg of males. However, APDs have no effects on the binding of serotonin and dopamine transporters.
This study revealed that aripiprazole, olanzapine and risperidone affected 5-HT2AR, 5-HT2CR, 5-HTT, D1R and D2R bindings differently in the brains of juvenile male and female rats.