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Eur J Pharmacol. 2003 Feb 28;463(1-3):67-96.

The Vogel conflict test: procedural aspects, gamma-aminobutyric acid, glutamate and monoamines.

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Psychopharmacology Department, Institut de Recherches Servier, Centre de Recherches de Croissy, 125 Chemin de Ronde, 78290 Croissy/Seine, Paris, France.


A multitude of mechanisms are involved in the control of emotion and in the response to stress. These incorporate mediators/targets as diverse as gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), excitatory amino acids, monoamines, hormones, neurotrophins and various neuropeptides. Behavioural models are indispensable for characterization of the neuronal substrates underlying their implication in the etiology of anxiety, and of their potential therapeutic pertinence to its management. Of considerable significance in this regard are conflict paradigms in which the influence of drugs upon conditioned (trained) behaviours is examined. For example, the Vogel conflict test, which was introduced some 30 years ago, measures the ability of drugs to release the drinking behaviour of water-deprived rats exposed to a mild aversive stimulus ("punishment"). This model, of which numerous procedural variants are discussed herein, has been widely used in the evaluation of potential anxiolytic agents. In particular, it has been exploited in the characterization of drugs interacting with GABAergic, glutamatergic and monoaminergic networks, the actions of which in the Vogel conflict test are summarized in this article. More recently, the effects of drugs acting at neuropeptide receptors have been examined with this model. It is concluded that the Vogel conflict test is of considerable utility for rapid exploration of the actions of anxiolytic (and anxiogenic) drugs. Indeed, in view of its clinical relevance, broader exploitation of the Vogel conflict test in the identification of novel classes of anxiolytic agents, and in the determination of their mechanisms of action, would prove instructive.

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