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Behav Brain Res. 2008 Dec 12;194(2):230-5. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2008.07.020. Epub 2008 Jul 25.

Disturbances in social interaction occur along with pathophysiological deficits following sub-chronic phencyclidine administration in the rat.

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Division of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, Queen's University, Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom.


A sub-chronic administration of phencyclidine to the rat brings about enduring pathophysiological and cognitive changes that resemble some features of schizophrenia. The present study aimed to determine whether the behavioural consequence of this phencyclidine regime extends to a long-term disruption of social interaction that might provide a parallel with some negative symptoms of the disease. Rats were treated with phencyclidine (2mg/kg bi-daily for 1 week) or vehicle followed by a drug-free period. Social interaction was assessed 24h, 1 week, 3 weeks and 6 weeks post-treatment. A long-lasting disturbance of social behaviour was observed in the phencyclidine group, namely more contact and non-contact interaction with an unfamiliar target rat at all time points. Six weeks post-phencyclidine, analysis of brains showed a reduction in expression of parvalbumin immunoreactive neurons in the hippocampus with significant reductions localised to the CA1 and dentate gyrus regions. These results show that sub-chronic phencyclidine produces long-lasting disruptions in social interaction that, however, do not model the social withdrawal seen in patients with schizophrenia. These disturbances of social behaviour may be associated with concurrent pathophysiological brain changes.

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