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Funct Neurol. 1991 Oct-Dec;6(4):393-403.

Panic-like attack induced by microinfusion into the locus coeruleus of antagonists and inverse agonists at GABAA-receptors in rodents.

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  • 1Department of Biology, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Italy.


The microinfusion of drugs inhibiting GABA-ergic transmission into the locus coeruleus (LC) of rats and mice produced a dramatic pattern of behavioural stimulation accompanied by marked electrocortical (ECoG) desynchronization. In rats, unilateral microinfusion into the LC of bicuculline (0.5-4 pmol) produced dose-dependent behavioural stimulation culminating in a panic-like attack, ECoG desynchronization and marked changes in ECoG spectrum power. These effects were prevented by a pretreatment into the same site with muscimol. Similarly, in mice, the microinfusion of ethyl-beta-carboline-3-carboxylate (beta-CCE, 4.1 nmol) into the LC of C57BL/6 mice produced an intense state of behavioural stimulation accompanied by intense stereotyped movements and increased excitability to external stimuli; these effects were prevented by prior microinfusion of diazepam or flumazenil into the same site. In conclusion, the present experiments show that in rodents drug manipulations leading to a decrease in the activity of GABA-benzodiazepine receptor complex in the LC are responsible for the occurrence of panic-like attacks.

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