INTRODUCTIONPrepulse inhibition (PPI) of the startle reflex has been extensively studied because it is disrupted in several psychiatric diseases, most notably schizophrenia. In rats, and to a lesser extent, in humans, PPI can be diminished by dopamine (DA) D(2)/D(3) and serotonin 5-HT(1A) receptor agonists. A novel class of potential antipsychotics (SSR181507, bifeprunox, and SLV313) possess partial agonist/antagonist properties at D(2) receptors and various levels of 5-HT(1A) activation.MATERIALS AND METHODSIt thus appeared warranted to assess, in Sprague-Dawley rats, the effects of these antipsychotics on basal PPI.RESULTSSSR181507, sarizotan, and bifeprunox decreased PPI, with a near-complete abolition at 2.5-10 mg/kg; SLV313 had a significant effect at 0.16 mg/kg only. Co-treatment with the 5-HT(1A) receptor antagonist WAY100,635 (0.63 mg/kg) showed that the 5-HT(1A) agonist activity of SSR181507 was responsible for its effect. By contrast, antipsychotics with low affinity and/or efficacy at 5-HT(1A) receptors, such as aripiprazole (another DA D(2)/D(3) and 5-HT(1A) ligand), and established typical and atypical antipsychotics (haloperidol, clozapine, risperidone, olanzapine, quetiapine, and ziprasidone) had no effect on basal PPI (0.01-2.5 to 2.5-40 mg/kg).DISCUSSIONThe present data demonstrate that some putative antipsychotics with pronounced 5-HT(1A) agonist activity, coupled with partial agonist activity at DA D(2) receptors, markedly diminish PPI of the startle reflex in rats.CONCLUSIONSThese data raise the issue of the influence of such compounds on sensorimotor gating in humans.