Differential behavioral effects of low efficacy positive GABA A modulators in combination with benzodiazepines and a neuroactive steroid in rhesus monkeys

Lance R. McMahon, Charles P. France

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations

Abstract

1. In the clinic, low efficacy positive GABA A modulators might be preferred to high efficacy positive modulators insofar as low efficacy modulators might have comparatively less abuse and dependence liability. 2. Drug discrimination was used to examine the behavioral effects of L-838,417 and bretazenil, two low efficacy positive GABA A modulators that act at benzodiazepine sites, alone and in combination with benzodiazepines and a neuroactive steroid (alfaxolone). In rhesus monkeys (n = 5) discriminating midazolam, alfaxolone substituted for midazolam. In four monkeys, L-838,417 and bretazenil did not substitute for, but rather dose-dependently antagonized, midazolam; L-838-417 and bretazenil, as well as flumazenil, enhanced the midazolam-like effects of alfaxolone. L-838,417 and bretazenil substituted for midazolam in a fifth monkey. In a separate group of rhesus monkeys (n = 3) that received 5.6 mg kg -1 per day of diazepam and that discriminated flumazenil, L-838,417 and bretazenil substituted for flumazenil. 3. These results demonstrate that L-838,417, bretazenil, and flumazenil can have agonist or antagonist actions in the same animal depending upon whether they are studied in combination with a higher efficacy positive GABA A modulator acting at the same (benzodiazepine) or a different (neuroactive steroid) site. Thus, combinations of low efficacy positive modulators acting at different sites on the GABA A receptor complex could yield drug mixtures with significant therapeutic effects and with reduced abuse and dependence liability, as compared to higher efficacy positive modulators such as currently available benzodiazepines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)260-268
Number of pages9
JournalBritish Journal of Pharmacology
Volume147
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2006

Keywords

  • Benzodiazepine
  • Dependence
  • Drug discrimination
  • Efficacy
  • GABA
  • Neuroactive steroid
  • Positive modulation
  • Rhesus monkey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology

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