Rat brain monoamine and serotonin S2 receptor changes during pregnancy
The concentrations of noradrenaline (NA), dopamine (DA), serotonin (5-HT), and their metabolites were determined in 5 brain areas of non-pregnant, 15 and 20 day pregnant and 4 day post-partum rats. Striatal 5-HT content was significantly lower in 15 and 20 day pregnant rats than in estrous controls. A significant decrease in striatal and frontal cortex 5-hydroxyindole-3-acetic acid (5-HIAA) concentration was observed in 15 day pregnant rats. Significant increases in hypothalamic and hippocampal NA levels were observed at 4 days post-partum. Frontal cortex serotonin S2 receptor KD was reduced in 4 day post-partum rats. There was no significant change in S2 receptor B(max) during pregnancy. Levels of progesterone were negatively correlated with striatal DA, homovanillic acid (HVA), 5-HT, and 5-HIAA levels, hypothalamic DA, hippocampal 5-HT, and frontal cortex 5-HIAA values as well as striatal HVA to DA, and HVA to 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid (DOPAC) ratios and amygdaloid HVA to DOPAC ratios. The limbic neurotransmitter changes might possibly contribute to mood changes which occur during pregnancy and post-partum.