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An Acad Bras Cienc. 2007 Mar;79(1):71-85.

Elevated mazes as animal models of anxiety: effects of serotonergic agents.

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Departamento de Neurologia, Psiquiatria e Psicologia Médica, Hospital das Clínicas, Faculdade de Medicina de Ribeirão Preto, Universidade de São Paulo, Ribeirão Preto, SP, 14048-900, Brasil.


This article reviews reported results about the effects of drugs that act upon the serotonergic neurotransmission measured in three elevated mazes that are animal models of anxiety. A bibliographic search has been performed in MEDLINE using different combinations of the key words X-maze, plus-maze, T-maze, serotonin and 5-HT, present in the title and/or the abstract, with no time limit. From the obtained abstracts, several publications were excluded on the basis of the following criteria: review articles that did not report original results, species other than the rat, intracerebral drug administration alone, genetically manipulated rats, and animals having any kind of experimental pathology. The reported results indicate that the effect of drugs on the inhibitory avoidance task performed in the elevated T-maze and on the spatio temporal indexes of anxiety measured in the X and plus mazes correlate with their effect in patients diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder. In contrast, the drug effects on the one-way escape task in the elevated T-maze predict the drug response of panic disorder patients. Overall, the drug effects assessed with the avoidance task in the T-maze are more consistent than those measured through the anxiety indexes of the X and plus mazes. Therefore, the elevated T-maze is a promising animal model of generalized anxiety and panic disorder.

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