Behavior Genetics

, Volume 28, Issue 2, pp 125-136

First online:

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

  • Kennon M. GarrettAffiliated withDepartment of Physiology
  • , Iwona NiekraszAffiliated withDepartment of Pediatrics
  • , Dewan HaqueAffiliated withDepartment of Physiology
  • , K. Michael ParkerAffiliated withDepartment of Pathology, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center
  • , Thomas W. SealeAffiliated withDepartment of Pediatrics, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center

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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.

Benzodiazepines GABAAreceptor inbred mice pharmacogenetics anxiety sedation