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Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2000 Apr;65(4):737-42.

Differential effects of beta-carbolines and antidepressants on rat exploratory activity in the elevated zero-maze.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology, University of Tartu, Ravila 19, 50411, Tartu, Estonia.


Present experiments were designed to compare the effects of antidepressants desipramine (10 and 20 mg/kg IP) and fluoxetine (5 and 10 mg/kg IP) with anxiogenic beta-carboline DMCM (0.5 and 1.0 mg/kg IP) in the elevated zero-maze test in rats. The second aim of this study was to assess the effects of pinoline (6-methoxy-1,2,3, 4-tetrahydro-beta-carboline) in the rat elevated zero-maze test in comparison with structurally unrelated beta-carboline DMCM and antidepressants. The time spent in the open part of the elevated zero-maze was not significantly affected by antidepressants, but was decreased by beta-carbolines pinoline and DMCM. The number of line crossings in the open parts and the number of head dips were also decreased more by beta-carbolines in comparison with antidepressants. Latency to enter the open part was statistically significantly increased only by DMCM. Measurement of locomotor activity in a separate experiment indicated that activity of the rats' time moving, distance traveled, and number of rearings were reduced by all four drugs studied. These results demonstrate that the effects of antidepressants in the elevated zero-maze test differ from the effects of the reference anxiogenic compound DMCM. The effects of pinoline and DMCM in the zero-maze test were similar, which suggests the involvement of mechanisms other than serotoninergic in the action of pinoline.

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