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Behav Pharmacol. 2004 May;15(3):225-32.

Effects of chlordiazepoxide on extinction and re-acquisition of operant behaviour in mice.

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School of Psychology, University of Ulster, Newtownabbey, Northern Ireland, UK.


Relatively little is known about the role of the inhibitory neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in extinction of appetitively motivated tasks. The benzodiazepine (BZ) chlordiazepoxide (CDP) was administered during extinction and re-acquisition of lever pressing by mice following food reinforced discrete-trial fixed-ratio 5 (FR-5) training. Typical FR behaviour was established during baseline training and persisted for several extinction sessions. There were 15 extinction sessions in all, followed by six re-acquisition sessions where food reinforcement was re-introduced. In a 2x2x2 between-group design, CDP (15 mg/kg) or vehicle injections were given prior to either the last two food reinforcement sessions and the first 10 extinction sessions, or the final five extinction sessions, or the six re-acquisition sessions. Initially CDP had no effect on the rate of extinction, but after several extinction sessions it significantly facilitated it. Surprisingly, if CDP was administered only after several sessions of extinction, it immediately produced facilitation. Thus the delayed effects of CDP are not due to drug accumulation. These data suggest that some neural change must occur before CDP can affect extinction processes. In re-acquisition sessions, CDP facilitated the reinstatement of food-reinforced lever pressing. Implications for neural and behavioural accounts of operant extinction are discussed.

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