Psychopharmacology

, Volume 101, Issue 4, pp 511–518 | Cite as

Diazepam changes risk assessment in an anxiety/defense test battery

  • D. Caroline Blanchard
  • Robert J. Blanchard
  • Paul Tom
  • R. J. Rodgers
Original Investigations

Abstract

An anxiety/defense test battery was designed to assess defensive reactions of laboratory rats to situations associated with nonpainful threat (exposure to a cat). The battery measured three defense patterns, movement inhibition, risk assessment behaviors, and inhibition of nondefensive behaviors, in two tasks. Diazepam (4.0 mg/kg) altered four of five risk assessment measures, but failed to show an anxiolytic effect on movement inhibition, and had minimal and inconsistent effects on inhibition of nondefensive behaviors. The risk assessment changes with diazepam were all consistent with an anxiolytic action of diazepam. These results provide a partial contrast to the general lack of anxiolytic action of diazepam in a fear/defense test battery designed to measure reactions to a discrete, present, threat stimulus, and suggest a greater diazepam effect on risk assessment than on other aspects of defensive responding. Sex differences indicating higher defensiveness for female than male rats were obtained on many of these measures.

Key words

Diazepam Anxiety Defense Sex differences Rat 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Barlow DH (1988) Anxiety and its disorders: the nature and treatment of anxiety and panic. Guilford Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  2. Blanchard RJ, Blanchard DC (1969) Crouching as an index of fear. J Comp Physiol Psychol 67:370–375Google Scholar
  3. Blanchard RJ, Blanchard DC (1971) Defensive reactions in the albino rat. Learn Motiv 21:351–362Google Scholar
  4. Blanchard DC, Blanchard RJ (1972a) Innate and conditioned reactions to threat in rats with amygdaloid lesions. J Comp Physiol Psychol 81:281–290Google Scholar
  5. Blanchard RJ, Blanchard DC (1972b) Effects of hippocampal lesions on the rat's reaction to a cat. J Comp Physiol Psychol, 78:77–82Google Scholar
  6. Blanchard DC, Blanchard RJ (1988) Ethoexperimental approaches to the biology of emotion. Annual Review of Psychology, Annual Reviews, Palo AltoGoogle Scholar
  7. Blanchard RJ, Blanchard DC (1989) Anti-predator defensive behaviors in a visible burrow system. J Comp Psychol 103:70–82Google Scholar
  8. Blanchard RJ, Kleinschmidt CF, Fukunaga-Stinson C, Blanchard DC (1980) Defensive attack behavior in male and female rats. Anim Learn Behav 8:177–183Google Scholar
  9. Blanchard RJ, Blanchard DC, Flannelly KJ, Hori K (1986a) Ethanol changes patterns of defensive behavior in wild rats. Physiol Behav 38:645–650Google Scholar
  10. Blanchard RJ, Flannelly KJ, Blanchard DC (1986b) Defensive behaviors of laboratory and wildRattus norvegicus. J Comp Psychol 100:101–107Google Scholar
  11. Blanchard DC, Rodgers RJ, Hori K, Hendrie CA (1988) “Taming” of wild rats(Rattus) by 5-HT1A agonists buspirone and gepirone. Pharm Biochem Behav 31:269–278Google Scholar
  12. Blanchard RJ, Blanchard DC, Hori K (1989a) Ethoexperimental approaches to the study of defensive behavior. In: Blanchard RJ, Brain PF, Blanchard DC, Parmigiani S (eds) Ethoexperimental approaches to the study of behavior. Kluwer Academic, Dordrecht, pp 114–136Google Scholar
  13. Blanchard DC, Rodgers RJ, Hori K, Hendrie CA, Blanchard RJ (1989b) Attenuation of defensive threat and attack in wild rats(Rattus rattus) by benzodiazepines. Psychopharmacology 97:392–401Google Scholar
  14. Blanchard RJ, Blanchard DC, Weiss S (1990) Ethanol effects in an anxiety/defense test battery. Alcohol (in press)Google Scholar
  15. Cooper SJ (1980) Benzodiazepines as appetite enhancing compounds. Appetite 1:7–19Google Scholar
  16. Cooper SJ (1985) Bidirectional control of palatable food consumption through a common benzodiazepine receptor: theory and evidence. Brain Res Bull 15:397–410Google Scholar
  17. Cooper SJ, Yerbury RE (1988) Clonazepam selectively increases saccharin ingestion in a 2-choice test. Brain Res 456:173–176Google Scholar
  18. File SE, Mabutt PS, Walker JH (1988) Comparison of adaptive responses in familiar and novel environments — modulatory factors. Ann NY Acad Sci 525:69–79Google Scholar
  19. Grant EC, Mackintosh JH (1963) A comparison of the social postures of some common laboratory rodents. Behaviour 21:246–259Google Scholar
  20. Gray JA (1987) The psychology of fear and stress. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  21. Krsiak M, Sulcova A, Donat P, Tomasikova Z, Dlohozkova N, Kosar E, Masek K (1984) In: Miczek KA, Kruk MR, Olivier B (eds) Ethopharmacological aggression research. Liss, New York, pp 93–114Google Scholar
  22. Langfeldt T, Ursin H (1971) Differential action of diazepam on flight and defense behavior in the cat. Psychopharmacologia 19:61–66Google Scholar
  23. Lester L, Fanselow MS (1985) Exposure to a cat produces opioid analgesia in rats. Behav Neurosci 99:756–759Google Scholar
  24. Mollenauer S, Plotnik R, Snyder E (1973) Scopolamine effects dependent upon pretreatment level of emotionality in the rat. Pharmacol Biochem Behav 1:509–514Google Scholar
  25. Mollenauer S, Plotnik R, Southwick P (1976) Scopolamine: effects on fear or defense responses in the rat. Pharmacol Biochem Behav 5:157–163Google Scholar
  26. Pinel JPJ, Mana MJ (1989) Adaptive interactions of rats with dangerous in animate objects: support for a cognitive theory of defensive behavior. In: Blanchard RJ, Brain PF, Blanchard DC, Parmigiani S (eds) Ethoexperimental approaches to the study of behavior. Kluwer Academic, Dordecht, pp 137–151Google Scholar
  27. Plotnik R, Mollenauer S, Snyder E (1974) Fear reduction in the rat following central cholinergic blockade. J Comp Physiol Psychol 86:1074–1082Google Scholar
  28. Treit D, LoLordo VM, Armstrong DE (1986) The effects of diazepam on fear reactions in rats are modulated by environmental constraints on the rats defensive repertoire. Pharmacol Biochem Behav 25:561–565Google Scholar
  29. Van der Poel AM (1979) A note on “stretched attention,” a behavioral element indicative of an approach-avoidance conflict in rats. Anim Behav 27:446–450Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. Caroline Blanchard
    • 3
  • Robert J. Blanchard
    • 3
    • 1
  • Paul Tom
    • 1
  • R. J. Rodgers
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Psychology University of HawaiiHawaiiUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of LeedsLeedsUK
  3. 3.Bekesy Laboratory of NeurobiologyHonoluluUSA

Personalised recommendations