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Gabaergic modulation of mouse-killing in the rat


When GABA-potentiating compounds were administered IP to rats with prior experience of mouse-killing behaviour, a reduction of killing was observed with gammavinyl GABA (200 and 400 mg/kg) and nipecotic acid amide (400 mg/kg), while no significant effect was noted following injection of dipropylacetate or THIP. The inhibitory effects of gamma-vinyl GABA and nipecotic acid amide were not reversed by subsequent injection of picrotoxin and were associated with sedation as observed in open field and actograph tests. When GABA-potentiating compounds were administered to food-deprived rats exposed for the first time to a mouse (initial elicitation), administration of gamma-vinyl GABA, dipropylacetate, nipecotic acid amide or THIP increased the incidence of mouse-killing behaviour. Conversely, the incidence of mouse-killing under the same conditions was reduced following injections of picrotoxin. These results do not support the hypothesis that the general activation of GABAergic mechanisms inhibits mouse-killing behaviour in rats. On the contrary, data obtained in naive animals suggest that potentiation of these mechanisms actually facilitates the initial elicitation of this behaviour.

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Correspondence to Marguerite Vergnes.

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Depaulis, A., Vergnes, M. Gabaergic modulation of mouse-killing in the rat. Psychopharmacology 83, 367–372 (1984).

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Key words

  • GABA
  • Mouse-killing
  • Aggressive behaviour
  • GVG
  • DPA
  • THIP
  • Picrotoxin
  • Bicuculline
  • Rat