, Volume 116, Issue 2, pp 173–182 | Cite as

Effects of two stressors on behaviour in the elevated X-maze: preliminary investigation of their interaction with 8-OH-DPAT

  • James W. McBlane
  • Sheila L. Handley


Effects of water deprivation and restraint were compared in the rat elevated X-maze. Water deprivation for 12–48 h increased corticosterone and had a duration-dependent “anxiolytic” effect in the elevated X-maze, increasing the ratio of open/total arm entries (OTR) and the proportion of time spent on the open arms (% time) without affecting total entries. Brain 5HIAA/5HT was increased only after 24 or 48 h deprivation. Restraint for 15 min also increased plasma corticosterone and brain 5HIAA/5HT but had no effect on behaviour in the elevated X-maze when rats were tested immediately afterwards. However, 1 h restraint was “anxiogenic” in the elevated X-maze immediately after release, reducing OTR and % time, but with a less consistent reduction in total entries; reductions in OTR and % time were still present 24 h later. The 5HT1A agonist 8-hydroxy-2-(di-n-propylamino) tetralin (8-OH-DPAT) (0.1–0.2 mg/kg), administered 10 min before testing in the elevated X-maze, had “anxiogenic” actions in non-stressed rats. The effect of 0.1 mg/kg 8-OH-DPAT was not significantly altered by 24 or 48 h water deprivation but was abolished by restraint for 1 h immediately beforehand, despite the “anxiogenic” effect of restraint alone. Similar mutual antagonism of 8-OH-DPAT and restraint occurred when the dose of 8-OH-DPAT was increased to 0.2 mg/kg. Twenty-four hours after restraint, restrained rats which had received 8-OH-DPAT (0.1–0.2 mg/kg) still did not show any significant “anxiogenic effect” compared with non-restrained vehicle treated controls. Restraint-induced deficits in elevated X-maze exploration may prove a useful model with which to study the pharmacology of depression-related anxiety. However, the effects of the stressors examined, and their interaction with 8-OH-DPAT in the elevated X-maze, appear to depend on the nature of the stressor.

Key words

5HT1A receptor 8-OH-DPAT Stress Anxiety Elevated X-maze 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • James W. McBlane
    • 1
  • Sheila L. Handley
    • 1
  1. 1.Pharmaceutical Sciences InstituteAston University, Aston TriangleBirminghamUK

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