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Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2005 Feb;80(2):213-9. Epub 2004 Dec 20.

Clozapine enhances disruption of prepulse inhibition after sub-chronic dizocilpine- or phencyclidine-treatment in Wistar rats.

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  • 1Department of Neuropharmacology, Brain Research Institute, University of Bremen, P.O.B 330440, 28334 Bremen, Germany.


Sensitisation (i.e. progressive enhancement) of behavioural abnormalities induced by repeated treatment with non-competitive NMDA receptor antagonists in animals is considered an animal model for schizophrenia. Here, male Wistar rats were treated for 11 days with either dizocilpine (0.1 mg/kg), phencyclidine (PCP, 2 mg/kg), or saline and tested for prepulse inhibition (PPI) of the acoustic startle response (ASR). The aims of this study were twofold: First, we tested whether sensitisation of PPI deficits previously found in Sprague-Dawley rats were also found in Wistar rats, and, second, whether these effects can be ameliorated by the atypical antipsychotic clozapine. PPI is a paradigm for the assessment of sensorimotor gating (and its deficits) and is impaired in schizophrenic patients. After the sub-chronic treatment the rats were tested drug-free (day 12), and on the following days after drug challenge by PCP (2 mg/kg), combinations of PCP (2 mg/kg) and clozapine (5 and 10 mg/kg), or clozapine (5 mg/kg) alone. PPI was significantly reduced by both NMDA receptor antagonists. This effect was not further enhanced by the daily treatment. Startle magnitude was increased after eight days of dizocilpine-treatment only, indicating sensitisation of startle-potentiation by this drug. Testing the rats drug-free on day 12 revealed enhanced PPI and reduced startle (compared to the matching test on day 0) irrespective of previous treatment. Drug challenge with PCP (2 mg/kg) again reduced PPI in all groups. Clozapine (5 and 10 mg/kg) failed to antagonise the PPI-disruptive effects of PCP and even enhanced the PCP-induced PPI-deficits in rats pretreated with PCP or dizocilpine. These findings suggest: (1) that PPI and startle are influenced differently by non-competitive NMDA receptor antagonists, (2) that PCP and dizocilpine reduce PPI in Wistar rats, but do not lead to a sensitisation of this effect; and (3) that under the present schedule of treatments, the antipsychotic compound clozapine does not antagonise but rather enhances PPI-disruptive effects of non-competitive NMDA receptor antagonists, pointing towards a complex interaction of the brain processes underlying the action of psychotomimetic and atypical antipsychotic drugs.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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