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Neuropsychopharmacology. 1989 Dec;2(4):299-308.

Effects of phencyclidine and phencyclidine biologs on sensorimotor gating in the rat.

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Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Medical College of Virginia.


Prepulse inhibition of the startle response occurs when a weak prestimulus precedes a startling stimulus and decreases the resulting reflex response. Prepulse inhibition provides a measure of sensorimotor gating that is readily assessed in humans and animals. As in event-related-potential models of sensory gating, prepulse inhibition is decreased in schizophrenic patients. In the present study, prepulse inhibition was measured in rats following injections of the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) antagonists phencyclidine, ketamine, and (+)-5-methyl-10,11-dihydro-5H-dibenzo(a,d)-cyclohepten-5,10-imine (MK-801). Startle was elicited by two different noise intensities or by air-puffs (tactile) and was inhibited by weak acoustic prepulse stimuli presented 100 msec before the startle stimuli. The different eliciting stimuli produced different levels of startle in both control and drug-treated animals, startle being increased by phencyclidine and MK-801. Both phencyclidine (3.0 to 10.0 mg/kg) and MK-801 (0.3 to 1.0 mg/kg) significantly reduced the amount of acoustic prepulse inhibition whereas ketamine did not. These results demonstrate that putative noncompetitive NMDA antagonists disrupt sensorimotor gating in rats and suggest that their effects may provide a model of the deficits in sensory gating exhibited by schizophrenic patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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