Sensorimotor-related discharge of simultaneously recorded, single neurons in the dorsal raphe nucleus of the awake, unrestrained rat

Barry D. Waterhouse, David Devilbiss, Scott Seiple, Ronald Markowitz

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52 Scopus citations


Multi-channel, multi-neuron recording procedures were used to monitor simultaneously the spike train activity of single neurons (n=7-16 cells/animal) in the dorsal raphe (DR) nucleus of the awake, freely moving rat. Putative serotonergic and non-serotonergic neurons were distinguished from one another on the basis of established criteria, i.e. waveform shape and duration, firing pattern and firing frequency. As a group, presumed serotonergic neurons exhibited low tonic discharge rates, depressed firing after serotonin (5HT)-1a agonist administration, and, except for the transition from sleep to waking, a general insensitivity to specific sensory or motor events. By contrast, non-serotonergic cells in midline and lateral wing sub-regions of the nucleus displayed responses to a variety of sensorimotor events including locomotion, grooming, head movement, chewing, auditory stimuli, and whisker movement (both passive and active). However, within this latter group, the sensorimotor response repertoire of individual cells was not uniform. Likewise, non-5HT cells with diverse response profiles were identified in both medial and lateral sub-regions of the nucleus. Cells categorized as non-serotonergic also had varied responses to 5HT1a agonist administration. These results emphasize the diverse input/output relationships of individual DR neurons and underscore the need for a more comprehensive analysis of such properties under waking conditions in order to obtain a better understanding of the role of the DR nucleus in brain function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)183-191
Number of pages9
JournalBrain Research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Mar 12 2004
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Neuroscience
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


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