Several clinical studies suggest antidepressive and anxiolytic effects of regular aerobic exercise. To study the effects of exercise on central serotonergic receptor sensitivity, we performed neuroendocrine challenges using oral doses of meta-chlorophenylpiperazine (m-CPP, 0.4 mg/kg), ipsapirone (0.3 mg/kg) and placebo in 12 marathon runners and 12 healthy controls not practicing regular exercise. After administration of the nonselective serotonergic agonist m-CPP, which exerts a number of well-reproducible effects mainly by means of its action on 5-HT(2C) receptors, marathon runners showed a significantly reduced cortisol response in comparison to the control group. There was also a statistical trend toward a blunted prolactin response after m-CPP in the athlete group. In contrast, the increase of cortisol and the hypothermia observed after administration of the 5-HT(1A) agonist ipsapirone were of the same magnitude in both groups. The behavioral response to m-CPP or ipsapirone and the mean maximal increases of plasma adrenaline and noradrenaline did not differ between the marathon and the control group. In conclusion, exercise-induced downregulation of 5-HT(2C) receptors could play an important role in mediating the anxiolytic and antidepressive effects of exercise. Copyright (C) 1999 American College of Neuropsychopharmacology.
Broocks, A., Meyer, T., George, A., Hillmer-Vogel, U., Meyer, D., Bandelow, B., … Rüther, E. (1999). Decreased neuroendocrine responses to meta-chlorophenylpiperazine (m-CPP) but normal responses to ipsapirone in marathon runners. Neuropsychopharmacology, 20(2), 150–161. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0893-133X(98)00056-6