, Volume 192, Issue 3, pp 407–414 | Cite as

Cataleptic effects of γ-hydroxybutyrate (GHB), its precursor γ-butyrolactone (GBL), and GABAB receptor agonists in mice: differential antagonism by the GABAB receptor antagonist CGP35348

  • Wouter Koek
  • Susan L. Mercer
  • Andrew Coop
Original Investigation



Gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) is used to treat narcolepsy but is also abused. GHB has many actions in common with the GABAB receptor agonist baclofen.


To further study the role of GABAB receptors in the effects of GHB.

Materials and methods

The experiments examined the ability of the GABAB receptor antagonist CGP35348 to attenuate GHB-induced catalepsy in comparison with its ability to attenuate the cataleptic effects of GABAB receptor agonists.


In C57BL/6J mice, GHB, the GHB precursor gamma-butyrolactone (GBL), and the GABAB receptor agonists baclofen and SKF97541 all produced catalepsy but differed in potency (i.e., SKF97541>baclofen>GBL>GHB) and in onset of action. The cataleptic effects of drug combinations were assessed at the time of peak effect of each compound, i.e., 60 min after CGP35348 and 60, 30, 30, and 15 min after baclofen, SKF97541, GHB, and GBL, respectively. At 100 mg/kg, CGP35348 shifted the dose–response curves of baclofen and SKF97541 to the right but not those of GHB and GBL; at 320 mg/kg, CGP35348 shifted the curves of all four compounds to the right.


The finding that CGP35348 was about threefold less potent to antagonize GHB and GBL than baclofen and SKF97541 is further evidence that the mechanisms mediating the effects of GHB and GABAB agonists are not identical. Differential involvement of GABAB receptor subtypes, or differential interactions with GABAB receptors, may possibly explain why GHB is effective for treating narcolepsy and is abused whereas baclofen is not.


Catalepsy Mice GHB GBL Baclofen SKF97541 CGP35348 GABA GABA-B 



The authors would like to thank Brittany Garcia, Adela Garza, and Aisa Mirelez for their excellent assistance. The work was supported by US Public Health Service Grants DA15692 (W.K.) and by Independent Scientist Award DA19634 (A.C.).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryThe University of Texas Health Science Center at San AntonioSan AntonioUSA
  2. 2.Department of PharmacologyThe University of Texas Health Science Center at San AntonioSan AntonioUSA
  3. 3.Department of Pharmaceutical SciencesUniversity of MarylandBaltimoreUSA

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