Stress and putative endogenous ligands for benzodiazepine receptors: The importance of characteristics of the aversive situation and of differential emotionality in experimental animals

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Abstract

The relationships between anxiety/stress, possible endogenous ligands for benzodiazepine receptors and the behavioral modification by drugs are discussed in this short review, including the specific characteristics of elements involved in those interactions, e.g. ones concerning the aversiveness of the stressful situation and the nature of the organism under investigation. These are important factors when considering aversive tasks, insofar as they may involve stressful conditions which differ in intensity and in the degree of control afforded the subject. These characteristics may well lead to differing functional effects on GABA-gated chloride channels or, in other words, to an incongruous balance between endogenous benzodiazepine receptor agonist and inverse agonist activity. This is not surprising, as it is well known that different forms of stressors often actually produce divergent behavioral, physiological and biochemical effects. This review also illustrates the necessity of taking into account the variable effects of stressors and/or drugs on animals differing in reactivity or emotionality, even in the case of 'non-selected' stocks. The implication is made that, by genetic and/or environmental manipulation of the emotional state of the animals used, it will be possible to obtain more clearly definable results in neuropharmacological and psychopharmacological studies. © 1991 Birkhäuser Verlag.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1051-1056
JournalExperientia
Volume47
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 1991

Keywords

  • Anxiety
  • aversive learning
  • endogenous benzodiazepine agonists and inverse agonists
  • FG 7142
  • flumazenil
  • handling effects
  • individual differences
  • rats
  • Ro 15-4513
  • Roman high-and low-avoidance
  • shuttle box avoidance
  • stress

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