The neurochemical effects of anxiolytic drugs are dependent on rearing conditions in Fawn-Hooded rats

Daniel J. Lodge, Andrew J. Lawrence

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


There is a vast literature examining the neurochemical effects of anxiolytics throughout the rat brain; however, although the behavioural actions of anxiolytic drugs are routinely assessed in animal models of anxiety, the majority of neurochemical studies have been performed in rats with relatively 'normal' behavioural phenotypes. Since there is significant evidence that an anxious phenotype is associated with numerous neurochemical alterations, it is feasible that the central effects of anxiolytics may vary depending on the underlying behavioural state (and corresponding neuropathology) of the experimental animal. For this reason, the aim of the present study was to examine the effect of chronic anxiolytic drug administration on the central CCK and dopamine systems in anxious (isolated from weaning) and nonanxious (group-housed) Fawn-Hooded (FH) rats. It is important to note that these studies were performed in rats with continued access to ethanol, which may affect the responses to anxiolytic treatment. Chronic anxiolytic treatment with the selective CCK-B (CCK2) receptor antagonist, Ci-988 (0.3 mg/kg/day ip) or diazepam (2 mg/kg/day ip), induced numerous effects throughout the central nervous system (CNS), with Ci-988 inducing significant changes in the density of dopamine D2 receptors, and diazepam producing marked changes in both dopamine D2 and CCK-B receptor binding density as well as preproCCK mRNA expression. Interestingly, the neurochemical effects of these anxiolytic drugs varied significantly depending on the rearing conditions of the rats, demonstrating the importance of using adequate animal models when correlating the behavioural and central effects of drugs acting throughout the CNS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)451-458
Number of pages8
JournalProgress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Anxiety
  • CCK
  • Ci-988
  • Diazepam
  • Dopamine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Pharmacology


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