Evaluation of perinatal flumazenil effects on the behavior of female RLA/Verh rats in anxiety tests and shuttle box avoidance

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Abstract

The present study investigated the effects of perinatal flumazenil (Ro 15-1788, a benzodiazepine receptor antagonist), given from gestational day 15 to the 14th day after giving birth, at two doses (3.5 and 6.3 mg/kg/day) on the behavior of female RLA/Verh rats. This rat line has been selectively bred for non-acquisition of two-way active avoidance. Offspring of treated/non-treated dams were tested when adults for two-way active (shuttle box) avoidance acquisition. For comparison reasons additional offspring coming from the same treatments were used in an hyponeophagia test and in both an open field and a plus maze tests. The results show that perinatal flumazenil, specially the lower dose (and also the highest dose, although only in the final phases of the shuttle box training) was able to improve two-way active avoidance acquisition, as it has been previously found with males, whereas it failed to show any effect in the hyponeophagia task, the open field and the plus-maze tests. As two-way active avoidance acquisition can be enhanced both by reducing emotionality/anxiety or by improving memory, it is suggested that flumazenil treatment could have affected either one or both processes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)475-480
JournalPharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior
Volume55
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 1996

Keywords

  • RLA/Verh rats
  • anxiety
  • flumazenil
  • hyponeophagia
  • learning
  • two-way active avoidance acquisition

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