Behavior Genetics

, Volume 28, Issue 2, pp 125–136

Genotypic Differences Between C57BL/6 and A Inbred Mice in Anxiolytic and Sedative Actions of Diazepam


  • Kennon M. Garrett
    • Department of Physiology
  • Iwona Niekrasz
    • Department of Pediatrics
  • Dewan Haque
    • Department of Physiology
  • K. Michael Parker
    • Department of PathologyUniversity of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center
  • Thomas W. Seale
    • Department of PediatricsUniversity of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center

DOI: 10.1023/A:1021424108213

Cite this article as:
Garrett, K.M., Niekrasz, I., Haque, D. et al. Behav Genet (1998) 28: 125. doi:10.1023/A:1021424108213


The role of genotype in susceptibility to the behavioral actions of benzodiazepines is not well characterized. To develop a model for such studies, we have characterized the anxiolytic and sedative activities of diazepam in C57BL/6J and A/J inbred mice. C57BL/6J mice were more responsive than A/J mice to diazepam-induced anxiolytic-like activity in the mirrored chamber aversion assay and the elevated plus-maze assay. Basal activity of the two strains did not differ in either assay. In contrast, the two strains were equally responsive to the anxiolytic effects of the 5-HT1Areceptor partial agonist, buspirone. C57BL/6J mice were also more susceptible to the sedative effects of diazepam than were A/J mice. Flumazenil blocked the effects of diazepam in these behavioral assays. Measurement of diazepam and nordiazepam in blood and brain suggested that the response differences are of a pharmacodynamic rather than a pharmacokinetic nature. Taken together, these findings indicate that C57BL/6J and A/J mice provide a valuable tool for behavioral genetic studies of the mechanisms underlying the pharmacological actions of benzodiazepines.

BenzodiazepinesGABAAreceptorinbred micepharmacogeneticsanxietysedation
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© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1998