Effects of acute and subchronic administration of ritanserin on the social behaviour of mice
The effects of ritanserin on the behaviour of adult male CD1 mice were examined after acute intraperitoneal injection (0.1, 0.3 and 0.6 mg/kg) and after administration for 12-15 days in the drinking fluid at 1.6 mg/l (0.32 mg/kg daily) and 3.1 mg/l (0.7 mg/kg daily). The behaviour of each mouse was examined by ethological procedures during 5 min social encounters with an untreated partner in an aversive situation, an unfamiliar neutral cage, and in a familiar situation, the animal's home cage. Behaviour also was monitored for 5 min in the light-dark box. In the acute studies, behavioural observations commenced at 30 min after injection. In the home cage, ritanserin significantly increased social investigation during social encounters and reduced exploratory activity at all doses tested, after both acute and subchronic administration. In the neutral cage, acutely administered ritanserin increased social investigation and reduced non-social activity at all dose levels. Effects were maximal at 0.3 mg/kg, and at this dose it also increased aggression. In the neutral cage after subchronic administration, ritanserin at both dose levels increased aggression, digging and investigation of the substrate and occurrence of the social act, ''attend'', while reducing the time spent in non-social exploration. Ritanserin did not affect behaviour in the light-dark box. The significance of these findings relative to the anxiolytic and antidepressant effects of ritanserin is discussed.
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