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Int J Dev Biol. 2012;56(1-3):193-6. doi: 10.1387/ijdb.113486op.

Planarians in pharmacology: parthenolide is a specific behavioral antagonist of cocaine in the planarian Girardia tigrina.

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Department of Biology, West Chester University, West Chester, PA 19383, USA.


Planarians are traditional animal models in developmental and regeneration biology. Recently, these organisms are arising as vertebrate-relevant animal models in neuropharmacology. Using an adaptation of published behavioral protocols, we have described the alleviation of cocaine-induced planarian seizure-like movements (pSLM) by a naturally-occurring sesquiterpene lactone, parthenolide. Interestingly, parthenolide does not prevent the expression of pSLM induced by amphetamines; in vertebrates, amphetamines interact with the same protein target as cocaine. Parthenolide is also unable to prevent pSLM elicited by the cholinergic com-pounds nicotine and cytisine or by the glutamatergic agents L- or D- glutamic acid or NMDA. Thus, we conclude that parthenolide is a specific anti-cocaine agent in this experimental organism.

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