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Deficiencies in serotonergic neurotransmission are involved in the pathophysiology of depression. Due to its modulatory effect on serotonin (5-HT) release, the 5-HT(1A)-receptor is thought to play a decisive role in the therapy of this mood disorder. However, it is not fully understood how antidepressant effects are mediated by pre- and postsynaptic receptor sites. In this study we examined the impact of postsynaptic 5-HT(1A)-receptor over-expression in corticolimbic areas of male and female mice on the performance in the forced swim-test (FST). Furthermore, we investigated their response to the serotonin selective reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) citalopram in comparison to the selective noradrenaline reuptake inhibitor reboxetine, as well as the partial 5-HT(1A)-receptor agonists, buspirone and S 15535. Additionally, these drugs were evaluated in the open field-test in order to observe effects on motor activity. The density of 5-HT(1A)-receptors in discrete corticolimbic regions was determined in detail by quantitative autoradiography with [(3)H]8-OH-DPAT to investigate genotype as well as sex dependent differences in the expression pattern. [(3)H]8-OH-DPAT binding differed depending on sex with female mice of both genotypes displaying higher receptor binding in distinct brain areas. In the FST untreated male but not female over-expressing (OE) mice showed an antidepressant-like behaviour compared to wild-type (WT) mice. Citalopram yielded an antidepressant effect without influencing locomotor activity in OE mice but not in WT mice. Reboxetine had no antidepressant-like effect in OE mice, but sex-dependently in WT mice. The two partial agonists, buspirone and S 15535 produced no antidepressant-like activity in both genotypes and sexes, but aberrant motor effects. The antidepressant-like phenotype of male transgenic mice accounts for an involvement of postsynaptic 5-HT(1A)-receptors in the FST behaviour. In addition, the selective over-expression of postsynaptic 5-HT(1A)-receptors in mice contributes to the antidepressant response to citalopram in the FST. Although further pharmacological analysis is required, the data provide novel support for a role of postsynaptic 5-HT(1A)-receptors in the effects of SSRIs.