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Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2001 Jul;156(2-3):273-83.

Drug-induced potentiation of prepulse inhibition of acoustic startle reflex in mice: a model for detecting antipsychotic activity?

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F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd., Preclinical CNS Research, Basel, Switzerland.



Schizophrenic patients typically have impaired startle habituation (SH) and prepulse inhibition of the startle reflex (PPI). PPI can be disrupted in rats by psychomimetics, and drug-induced reversal of this deficit is considered to predict potential antipsychotic properties. Certain strains of mice, such as C57BL/6J, naturally display poor PPI.


To test whether mice spontaneously showing low levels of PPI might prove a useful tool for detecting novel antipsychotics.


PPI and SH were evaluated in four strains of mice: BALB/cByJ, MORO, 129/SvEv and C57BL/6J. The effects of antipsychotic [haloperidol (1, 3 and 6 mg/kg), clozapine (0.3, 1, 3 and 30 mg/kg) and risperidone (0.1, 0.3 and 1 mg/kg)] and non-antipsychotic [diazepam (3, 10 and 30 mg/kg), buspirone (1, 3 and 10 mg/kg), desipramine (3, 10 and 30 mg/kg), morphine (3, 10 and 30 mg/kg) and scopolamine (0.3, 1 and 3 mg/kg)] drug treatments were studied on PPI.


Haloperidol (6 mg/kg), clozapine (3 and 30 mg/kg), and risperidone (1 mg/kg) all significantly enhanced PPI in C57BL/6J. All non-antipsychotics failed to improve PPI in this strain, except diazepam. Facilitation of PPI was also obtained in the other strains; however, clear interstrain differences were observed depending on the class of antipsychotic used and on the level of prepulse intensity.


Antipsychotic-induced facilitation of PPI is clearly detected in mice naturally exhibiting poor levels of sensorimotor gating (e.g., C57BL/6J), but is also observed in other strains of mice. The use of this procedure as a potential screening test for detecting novel antipsychotic medications is discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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