m-Chlorophenylpiperazine (mCPP) is the most extensively used probe of serotonin function in psychiatry. The article reviews its in vitro and in vivo properties in animals, normal human subjects, and psychiatric patients. mCPP is a safe, reliable, direct 5-hydroxytryptamine (5HT) agonist, which may be used to evaluate 5HT receptor sensitivity. It causes a consistent, dose-dependent elevation of ACTH, cortisol, and prolactin levels in both animals and humans, as well as increased body temperature in man. It also causes a variety of behavioral effects, depending on the population studied. These effects are probably 5HT receptor-related, although specific 5HT receptor subtype mechanisms have not yet been established. mCPP may be considered an important addition to armamentarium of 5HT receptor probes, which is especially useful until more selective 5HT receptor agonists have been tested.
Research output: Contribution to journal › Review article