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Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2009 Apr;203(3):539-46. doi: 10.1007/s00213-008-1401-7. Epub 2008 Nov 25.

Contribution of alpha1 subunit-containing gamma-aminobutyric acidA (GABAA) receptors to motor-impairing effects of benzodiazepines in squirrel monkeys.

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1
McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School, Belmont, MA, USA.

Abstract

RATIONALE:

Benzodiazepines (BZs) are effective anxiolytics and hypnotics, but their use is limited by unwanted side effects, such as motor impairment.

OBJECTIVES:

To assess the contribution of alpha1 subunit-containing gamma-aminobutyric acid(A) (GABA(A)) receptor subtypes to the motor-impairing effects of BZs, the present study evaluated two observable measures of motor coordination (balance on a pole, resistance to hind-limb flexion) engendered by nonselective and selective BZ-site agonists in squirrel monkeys.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

Multiple doses of nonselective BZs (triazolam, alprazolam, diazepam, and chlordiazepoxide) and alpha1 subunit-preferring agonists (zolpidem and zaleplon) were administered to adult male squirrel monkeys (N = 4-6), and experimenters rated the monkey's ability to balance on a horizontal pole ("ataxic-like effects"), as well as the degree of resistance to hind-limb flexion ("myorelaxant-like effects").

RESULTS:

Administration of all BZ-type drugs resulted in ataxic-like and myorelaxant-like effects. Pretreatment with the alpha1 subunit-preferring antagonist beta-carboline-3-carboxylate-t-butyl ester (betaCCT) attenuated the ataxic-like effects engendered by both types of drugs. However, betaCCT was largely ineffective at blocking the ability of both BZs and non-BZs to induce myorelaxant-like effects.

CONCLUSIONS:

These experiments demonstrate dose-dependent motor impairment in squirrel monkeys using quantitative behavioral observation techniques. Altogether, these findings suggest a lack of a prominent role for alpha1 subunit-containing receptors in the alteration of hind-limb flexion, a putative measure of myorelaxation, induced by BZ-type drugs in monkeys.

PMID:
19031072
PMCID:
PMC2657184
DOI:
10.1007/s00213-008-1401-7
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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