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Behav Brain Res. 1994 Mar 31;61(1):59-64.

Thigmotaxis as an index of anxiety in mice. Influence of dopaminergic transmissions.

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Unité de Neuropsychopharmacologie expérimentale, URA 1170 du CNRS, Faculté de Médecine et Pharmacie de Rouen, Saint Etienne du Rouvray, France.


When mice are introduced into an open-field, they are inclined to explore mainly the peripheral zone of this open-field. This tendency to remain close the walls, called thigmotaxis, decreases gradually during the first minutes of exploration. We have considered the degree of thigmotaxis during this period of decrease as an index of anxiety in mice. This hypothesis has been validated with several reference anxiogenic drugs (dexamphetamine, pentylenetetrazole, yohimbine, idazoxan) which increased thigmotaxis; and with anxiolytic drugs (buspirone, phenobarbital), which reduced it. On this test the selective or non-selective indirect dopamine agonists GBR 12783, dexamphetamine and cocaine induced an increase of thigmotaxis. Finally, the simultaneous involvement of D1 and D2 dopamine receptors has been evidenced in the anxiogenic-like effect associated with an increase of dopaminergic transmissions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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