, Volume 110, Issue 3, pp 295–301 | Cite as

Pentobarbital-like discriminative stimulus effects of direct GABA agonists in rats

  • Doreen M. Grech
  • Robert L. Balster
Original Investigations


The discriminative stimulus effects of direct and indirect-acting GABAergic drugs were investigated in rats trained to discriminate 5 mg/kg pentobarbital (PB) from saline under a two-lever fixed ratio (FR) 32 schedule of food reinforcement. PB and diazepam produced dose-dependent substitution for the training dose of PB with response rate reduction only at doses above those producing full substitution. Muscimol, thiomuscimol and 4,5,6,7-tetrahydroisoxazolo [5,4-c]-pyridin-3-ol (THIP) produced intermediate levels of pentobarbital-lever responding (40–60%), accompanied by dose-dependent decreases in rates of responding following THIP and muscimol administration. The GABAA agonist progabide and its metabolite 4-{[(4-chlorophenyl) (5-fluoro-2-hydroxyphenyl)methylene]amino}] butyric acid (SL 75102) also partially substituted for PB, producing means of 39–73% PB-lever responding. The GABAB agonist, baclofen, completely failed to substitute for PB even at doses that decreased rates of responding. These results show that the discriminative stimulus effects of indirect GABAA agonists, PB and diazepam, although similar to one another, differ from those of direct GABAA receptor agonists, which produced only partial substitution for PB. The GABAB agonist, baclofen, can be distinguished by lacking any ability to substitute for PB. These results contribute to a further understanding of the similarities and differences in the behavioral effects of different types of GABA agonists.

Key words

Drug discrimination Pentobarbital GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) Muscimol THIP (4,5,6,7-tetrahydroisoxazolo[5,4-c] pyridin-3-ol) Thiomuscimol Progabide SL 75102 (4-{[(4-chlorophenyl)(5-fluoro-2-hydroxyphenyl) methylene]amino} butyric acid) Baclofen Diazepam 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Doreen M. Grech
    • 1
  • Robert L. Balster
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Pharmacology and ToxicologyMedical College of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmondUSA

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