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Serotonergic modulation of cognition; An acute challenge

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 March 2020

N. Skandali
Affiliation:
Addenbrooke's hospital, psychiatry, Cambridge, United Kingdom
J. Rowe
Affiliation:
University of Cambridge, clinical neurosciences, Cambridge, United Kingdom
J. Deakin
Affiliation:
University of Cambridge, psychiatry, Cambridge, United Kingdom
T. Robbins
Affiliation:
University of Cambridge, psychology, Cambridge, United Kingdom
B. Sahakian
Affiliation:
University of Cambridge, psychiatry, Cambridge, United Kingdom

Abstract

Serotonin is well known to affect the multifaceted construct of impulsivity. Lowering brain serotonin levels is shown to increase impulsive choice in delay-discounting tasks (1) but improves response inhibition in stop-signal paradigms. (2) Administration of the antidepressant citalopram in healthy people increases tendency to perform go choices in a Go/No-Go task independent of outcome valence (3). It is rather unclear thought how serotonergic neurotransmission affects several aspects of cognition. We administered a single dose of 20 mg escitalopram, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, to 66 healthy participants, aged 18–45 years old, in a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, parallel-groups study. Acute escitalopram administration had a beneficial effect on inhibitory control with reduced stop-signal reaction time observed in the treatment group. Participants made significantly more errors in a probabilistic learning task and had lower accuracy during the discrimination stage in an instrumental learning task thus indicating a learning impairment. More errors in the CANTAB intra-extra dimensional set shift task were also observed in the escitalopram-treated group. Our findings following acute administration of a clinically relevant dose of escitalopram show a dissociate role for serotonin in modulating cognition mediated by a potentially differential modulation of fronto-striatal loops.

Disclosure of interest

The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.

Type
e-Poster Walk: Neuroimaging and neuroscience in psychiatry
Copyright
Copyright © European Psychiatric Association 2017
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