The effects of compounds related to gamma-aminobutyrate and benzodiazepine receptors on behavioural responses to anxiogenic stimuli in the rat: extinction and successive discrimination.

Article date: 1986/1/1

PubMed ID: 23084

Journal name: Psychopharmacology (ISSN: 0033-3158)


In a first set of experiments rats were trained to run in a straight alley for food reward on a continuous reinforcement schedule and the running response was then extinguished. On the last 2 days of training and daily throughout extinction different groups of animals were injected IP with saline, 5 mg/kg chlordiazepoxide, 0.75 mg/kg picrotoxin, chlordiazepoxide + picrotoxin, chlordiazepoxide + 1.5 mg/kg bicuculline, 0.00125 or 0.25 mg/kg muscimol, 1 mg/kg baclofen, chlordiazepoxide + baclofen, or 0.00125 mg/kg muscimol + baclofen. Chlordiazepoxide increased resistance to extinction, a well-known anxiolytic effect. This effect was blocked by both picrotoxin and bicuculline. Picrotoxin on its own reduced resistance to extinction (an anxiogenic-like effect). Whether given alone or in combination with other drugs, muscimol and baclofen had no effect. In a second set of experiments rats were trained in a successive operant discrimination (signalled by a flashing or steady light) between components in which sucrose reward was available on a variable-interval schedule for barpressing and components in which no reward was given. Chlordiazepoxide at 10 mg/kg increased responding in both rewarded and nonrewarded components, but more in the latter than could be accounted for by change in the former. This effect is as expected with an anxiolytic drug. It was not altered by administration of bicuculline at 1.5 or 1.75 mg/kg; at 2 mg/kg bicuculline acted synergistically with chlordiazepoxide. Picrotoxin (1 and 1.5 mg/kg) also acted synergistically with chlordiazepoxide, enhancing the latter's rate-increasing effects, but only during rewarded components. Neither muscimol (0.00125 and 0.25 mg/kg) nor baclofen (0.01 mg/kg) affected response rates, whether given alone or in combination. However, baclofen in a dose of 1 mg/kg, provided it was given to rats also injected with muscimol (0.00125 or 0.25 mg/kg) at other times, significantly reduced responding during nonrewarded components (an apparently anxiogenic effect). The results of the two sets of experiments are discussed in relation to the hypothesis that anxiolytic drugs affect behaviour by increasing GABAergic inhibition.

Author List: Buckland C, Mellanby J, Gray J A

Publication Types: Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

Substances mentioned in the article: Receptors, GABA-A; Picrotoxin; Muscimol; Chlordiazepoxide; Baclofen; Bicuculline;

Mesh terms: Animals; Anxiety/physiopathology; Baclofen/pharmacology; Behavior, Animal/drug effects; Bicuculline/pharmacology; Chlordiazepoxide/pharmacology; Discrimination (Psychology)/drug effects; Discrimination Learning/drug effects; Drug Interactions; Extinction, Psychological/drug effects; Male; Muscimol/pharmacology; Picrotoxin/pharmacology; Rats; Rats, Inbred Strains; Receptors, GABA-A/drug effects; Time Factors;

Citations: - 193044

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