Effect of various psychotropic drugs on the performance of avoidance and escape behaviors in rats
The effect of different doses of nine psychotropic drugs upon conditioned avoidance responses (CARs) developed on a stable basis, after appropriate training, was investigated in rats and compared with their capacity to disrupt escape responses (ERs). Haloperidol (HAL), chlorpromazine (CPZ), morphine (MOR), pentobarbital (PENT), chlordiazepoxide (CDP), meprobamate (MPB), and amphetamine (AMPH) dose dependently inhibited both behaviors. Imipramine also disrupted CARs dose dependently, but did not affect ERs at maximal tolerated doses. Significant differences in the minimal effective doses, effective dose range, and time of onset and duration of action, as well as in potency, were observed. The quantitative determination of the level of selectivity, based upon the ratio ED 50 escape failure/ED 50 avoidance failure, indicated that all CNS depressants tested caused a selective inhibition of avoidance behavior. HAL was found to be the most specific, followed, in order, by CDP, MOR, CPZ, MPB, and PENT, whose ratio values were not significantly different. AMPH produced a nearly parallel impairment of both behaviors and quipazine only affected CARs at toxic doses. It is concluded that both neuroleptic and nonneuroleptic CNS depressant drugs have selective inhibitory effects on avoidance behavior. Data revealed differences that were more quantitative than qualitative.
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