The effect of infantile handling-stimulation and/or perinatal flumazenil (3.7 mg/kg/day) administration on exploratory and emotional-related behavior was investigated using Roman high- and low-avoidance (RHA/Verh and RLA/Verh) rats. Postnatal handling increased exploration in 30-day-old rats of both psychogenetically selected lines when they were exposed to a hexagonal tunnel maze including an illuminated central arena. Likewise, postnatal stimulation decreased emotional reactivity in both lines of rats, as expressed by increased entry into the central arena, decreased defection and vocalization frequency, but these effects were more pronounced in the RLA/Verh line. There were interactions between perinatal flumazenil treatment and rat line, indicating that flumazenil enhanced entry into the maze central arena in handled-RLA/Verh rats, whereas a tendency toward the opposite effect was observed in drug-treated and handled-RHA/Verh animals. Thus, the present study emphasizes that the effects of environmental manipulations are partly dependent upon genetic factors, and that pharmacological effects also depend on both genetic and environmentally-induced predisposition. © 1992 Springer-Verlag.
- Emotional reactivity
- Infantile stimulation
- Perinatal flumazenil (Ro15-1788)
- Roman high- and low-avoidance rats