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Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2010 Jan;94(3):410-5. doi: 10.1016/j.pbb.2009.10.002. Epub 2009 Oct 17.

Acute nicotine and phencyclidine increase locomotor activity of the guinea pig with attenuated potencies relative to their effects on rat or mouse.

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Department of Neuroscience Biology, AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, Wilmington, Delaware, USA.


Behavioral assays of the responses to psychomotor stimulants can be used to model certain aspects of CNS pathologies such as psychosis and addiction. However, species-dependent differences in the effects of neuromodulators in these assays can confound the interpretation of the results. The goal of this study was to determine the utility of the guinea pig as a model for assessing the behavioral actions of nicotinic receptor agonists and NMDA receptor antagonists. In the present study, the locomotor activity of adult male guinea pigs was measured, prior to and following an acute injection of nicotine, MK-801 or phencyclidine. Each animal received a single dose of the drug. Nicotine produced a dose-dependent increase in activity with an ED(50) of 1.5mg/kg. Phencyclidine also increased activity, with an ED(50) of 3.4 mg/kg. Nicotine produced increases in locomotion in all individual subjects tested, whereas at the maximally-effective dose of phencyclidine, only a fraction of the animals had locomotor activation. There was no change in activity in response to a single dose of MK-801 (0.5mg/kg). Haloperidol had a significant inhibitory effect on locomotor activity independent of the stimulant administered. Thus, both phencyclidine and nicotine are psychomotor stimulants when given to guinea pigs, although the intensity of the response and the potencies of these drugs are lower than in mice or rats under otherwise similar conditions.

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