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Behav Brain Res. 2012 May 16;231(1):20-8. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2012.02.037. Epub 2012 Mar 1.

Anxiolytic-like actions of reboxetine, venlafaxine and endurance swimming in stressed male rats.

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Department of Physiology, Faculty of Science, Mahidol University, Bangkok 10400, Thailand.


Despite being potent anxiolytic agents, benzodiazepines (BDZ) sometimes show reduced therapeutic efficacy in stressed rodents. However, the effectiveness of norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (NRI) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRI) or other anxiolytic interventions, e.g., exercise, remained elusive. Here, we demonstrated that male rats subjected to restraint stress for 4 weeks showed decreases in percent open arm time and open arm entry, as determined by elevated plus-maze test (EPM). Increases in inhibitory avoidance trial 2 and outer zone time were also observed in elevated T-maze (ETM) and open field test (OFT), respectively. To evaluate the anxiolytic-like actions of exercise and anxiolytic drugs, stressed rats were subjected for 4 weeks to swimming or daily gavage with 2mg/kg diazepam (BDZ), or 10mg/kg fluoxetine (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor), reboxetine (NRI), or venlafaxine (SNRI). In EPM, the open arm activity was higher in the swimming, reboxetine-treated and venlafaxine-treated groups as compared to age-matched controls, while diazepam and fluoxetine were without effect. In ETM, a reduction in avoidance latency was observed only in swimming and venlafaxine-treated groups. However, the combined swimming and pharmacological treatment showed no additive anxiolytic-like effect. It could be concluded that restraint stress induced anxiety-like behaviors, which were not responsive to diazepam or fluoxetine, whereas reboxetine, venlafaxine and swimming showed anxiolytic-like actions in stressed rats.

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