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Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 1995 Apr;50(4):521-6.

Behavioral effects of vehicles: DMSO, ethanol, Tween-20, Tween-80, and emulphor-620.

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Behavioral Sciences Department, Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute, Bethesda, MD 20889-5603, USA.


Experimental drugs and compounds that do not easily dissolve in water or saline are frequently combined with vehicles like solvents, detergents, or vegetable oils. Yet very little has been reported on the behavioral effects of vehicles. In this study, we assessed the effects of a vegetable oil (emulphor-620), two detergents (Tween-20 and Tween-80), and two solvents [dimethyl sulphoxide (DMSO) and ethanol] on the locomotor activity in CD2F1 male mice. Locomotor activity was monitored for 12 h after vehicle administration (IP). The concentrations for each vehicle were expressed as percent of vehicle in saline (v/v). Emulphor-620 did not affect locomotor activity at any concentration tested (2%, 4%, 8%, 16%, and 32%). Tween-20 significantly decreased locomotor activity at a concentration of 16% and Tween-80 at 32%. DMSO significantly decreased locomotor activity at concentrations of 32% and 64%. In contrast, ethanol produced a biphasic behavioral response: increased activity at a concentration of 16% and decreased activity at a concentration of 32%. These results will facilitate the selection and concentration of vehicles to be used in combination with experimental drugs or test agents.

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