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Psychopharmacology (Berl). 1994 Mar;114(2):288-96.

Ethological evaluation of the effects of acute and chronic buspirone treatment in the murine elevated plus-maze test: comparison with haloperidol.

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Department of Psychology, University of Leeds, UK.


Buspirone is renowned for its highly inconsistent effects in animal models of anxiety. In the present study, the effects of acute (0.63-5.0 mg/kg) and chronic (1.25-5.0 mg/kg, daily, 15 days) buspirone treatment on the behaviour of mice in the elevated plus-maze test were assessed using a recently developed ethological scoring method. On acute administration, a selective reduction in risk assessment behaviours was observed at 1.25 mg/kg; these mild anxiolytic-like effects were maintained at higher doses (2.5-5.0 mg/kg) which also reduced measures of general activity. Similar, though more potent, effects were observed with chronic administration; the lowest dose tested (1.25 mg/kg) reduced open arm entries and total stretch attend postures while higher doses profoundly reduced all major indices of anxiety (traditional and novel) and, concomitantly, suppressed total entries and rearing. Acute administration of haloperidol (0.0125-0.1 mg/kg) appeared to mimic the behavioural suppressant effects of buspirone without selectively affecting anxiety-related measures at any dose. It is suggested that the anti-anxiety and behavioural suppressant profile of buspirone may reflect combined action at 5-HT1A and D2 receptors, respectively. Results are discussed in relation to the utility of risk assessment as a sensitive index of anxiety in models based upon unconditioned behaviour.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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