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Title: The effects of psychoactive drugs on aspects of mother-infant behaviour in laboratory mice
Author: Kusmorini, N.
Awarding Body: University College of Swansea
Current Institution: Swansea University
Date of Award: 1991
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The possibility that isolation or 'distress' calling in newborn rodents can be used to screen for anxiolytic activity was explored. The effects of a wide range of drugs that influence the benzodiazepine / GABA receptor complex, serotonergic, noradrenergic, dopaminergic and cholinergic transmitter systems on ultrasonic calling were systematically assessed, in 5-6 day old mouse pups, under controlled temperature conditions. Benzodiazepine agonists reliably decreased ultrasonic calling whereas inverse agonists increased it. The benzodiazepine antagonists, which had no significant influences per se on this measure, blocked the effects of both direct and inverse benzodiazepine agonists on ultrasonic calling. GABA agonists reduced ultrasonic calling although GABA antagonists had no significant effects on this measure. These antagonists did, however, block the effects of the agonist muscimol. Exposure of mouse pups to PTZ increased the number of calls. The action of PTZ was blocked by the benzodiazepine antagonist, Ro 15-1788. Three out of four serotonin agonists tested in these studies increased the number of ultrasonic calls, while the antagonists of serotonin suppressed such production. These effects on ultrasonic calls appear mediated by the 5-HT receptor, as the actions of some agonists are reliably blocked by specific antagonists. Tests with noradrenaline antagonists (sensu Carlson, 1986) (except AMPT) decreased ultrasonic calling. Apomorphine and sulpiride respectively increased and decreased the number of ultrasonic calls. With drugs acting via all receptors, changes in core body temperature and performance on the inclined plane test were routinely observed to identify possible indirect actions. Increases and decreases in calling generally appeared independent of thermoregulatory or sedative actions of drugs. It was concluded that ultrasonic calling can be used to quickly and accurately assess some classes of drugs for their anxiolytic or anxiogenic properties. Other experiments examined nest building and the behaviour of reproductive female mice after treatment with chlorpromazine, d-amphetamine or morphine sulphate. These preliminary data suggested that sedative drugs have major impacts on nest building and other activities, but additional studies have to be conducted to determine whether other tests based on the mother-infant bond will prove to be of utility in the study of psychoactive drugs.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available