, Volume 121, Issue 1, pp 118–126 | Cite as

Effects of benzodiazepine receptor partial inverse agonists in the elevated plus maze test of anxiety in the rat

  • Belinda J. Cole
  • Margrit Hillmann
  • Dieter Seidelmann
  • Mario Klewer
  • Graham H. Jones
Original Investigation


The present series of experiments examined the effects of five benzodiazepine receptor (BZR) partial inverse agonists on the behaviour of rats on an elevated plus maze. The drugs were tested in a standard plus maze with 3-cm walls added to the open arms, as this has been shown to increase the sensitivity of the plus maze to anxiogenic-like drug effects (Jones and Cole 1995). The drugs tested were FG 7142 (0–100 mg/kg),β-CCE (0–30 mg/kg), ZK 132 556 (0–100 mg/kg), ZK 90 886 (0–30 mg/kg) and Ro 15–4513 (0–30 mg/kg). In addition, to allow a comparison with previous studies, the effects of three reference substances, DMCM (0–2.5 mg/kg), pentylenetetrazol (PTZ; 0–30 mg/kg) and yohimbine (0–5 mg/kg), were also examined. These three reference compounds produced a dose-dependent reduction in the duration of open arm exploration and the total number of open arm entries, indicative of anxiogenic-like effects. DMCM produced significant effects at the doses of 1.25 and 2.5 mg/kg, PTZ at 30 mg/kg, and yohimbine at 5 mg/kg. The BZR partial inverse agonist FG 7142 (10, 30 and 100 mg/kg) also reduced the duration of open arm exploration and the total number of arm entries. The minimally effective dose resulted in a receptor occupancy of approximately 80%. Ro 15–4513 also produced anxiogenic-like effects, but only at a dose (30 mg/kg) that resulted in a receptor occupancy of approximately 95%. In contrast, the other BZR partial inverse agonists, ZK 132 553 and ZK 90 886, did not significantly reduce the duration of open arm exploration, even at doses that produced greater than 95% receptor occupancies.β-CCE also did not reduce open arm exploration at any dose tested (0–30 mg/kg). The GABA shift, a biochemical index of intrinsic activity, indicates that these latter three compounds are more inverse agonistic than Ro 15–4513. In summary, these results demonstrate that not all BZR receptor partial inverse agonists have anxiogenic-like activity in the rat plus maze, and that the GABA shift, a biochemical index of intrinsic efficacy, does not predict which BZR partial inverse agonists are anxiogenic.

Key words

Anxiety Plus maze Rat Benzodiazepine receptor DMCM FG 7142 Yohimbine Pentylenetetrazol β-Carboline Inverse agonist 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Belinda J. Cole
    • 1
  • Margrit Hillmann
    • 1
  • Dieter Seidelmann
    • 2
  • Mario Klewer
    • 1
  • Graham H. Jones
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of NeuropsychopharmacologyResearch Laboratories of Schering AGBerlinGermany
  2. 2.Department of Medicinal ChemistryResearch Laboratories of Schering AGBerlinGermany

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