5-HT7 receptors as modulators of neuronal excitability, synaptic transmission and plasticity: physiological role and possible implications in autism spectrum disorders
Using 5-HT(7) receptor knockout mice it has been shown that the 5-HT(7) receptor is the main mediator of serotonin-induced hypothermia but very little is known about the relevance of 5-HT(7) receptors in behaviour. We here report that lack of 5-HT(7) receptors leads to a specific learning deficit that is not due to general sensory or behavioural deficits. The knockout mice show impaired contextual fear conditioning but no significant deficits in motor and spatial learning or cued and operant conditioning. In addition, we demonstrate that 5-HT(7) receptor knockout mice display decreased long-term synaptic plasticity within the CA1 region of the hippocampus. The results indicate an important role for the 5-HT(7) receptor in contextual hippocampal-dependent learning and suggest a possible neuronal correlate for such a role is present within the CA1 region of the hippocampus.