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A detailed ethological analysis of the mouse open field test: effects of diazepam, chlordiazepoxide and an extremely low frequency pulsed magnetic field

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The open field test (OFT) is a widely used procedure for examining the behavioral effects of drugs and anxiety. Detailed ethological assessments of animal behavior are lacking. Here we present a detailed ethological assessment of the effects of acute treatment with the benzodiazepines, diazepam (DZ, 1.5mg/kg) and chlordiazepoxide (CDP, 5.0 and 10.0mg/kg), as well as exposure to a non-pharmacological agent, a specific pulsed extremely low frequency magnetic field (MAG) on open field behavior. We examined the duration, frequency and time course of various behaviors (i.e. exploration, walk, rear, stretch attend, return, groom, sit, spin turn, jump and sleep) exhibited by male mice in different regions of a novel open field. Both DZ and CDP consistently reduced the typical anxiety-like behaviors of stretch attend and wall-following (thigmotaxis), along with that of an additional new measure: 'returns', without producing any overall effects on total locomotion. The drugs also differed in their effects. CDP elicited a shift in the locomotor pattern from a 'high explore' to a 'high walk', while DZ mainly elicited alterations in sit and groom. The MAG treatment was repeated twice with both exposures reducing horizontal and vertical (rearing) activity and increasing grooming and spin turns. However, the anxiety-like behaviors of stretch attend and return were marginally reduced by only the first exposure. We conclude that a detailed ethological analysis of the OFT allows not only the detection of specific effects of drugs and non-pharmacological agents (i.e. pulsed magnetic field) on anxiety-like behaviors, but also permits the examination of non-specific effects, in particular those on general activity.

Author:

Choleris, E. and Thomas, A. W. and Kavaliers, M. and Prato, F. S.

Year:

2001

Volume:

25

Pages:

235-60--

Keywords:

Animals Anti-Anxiety Agents/*pharmacology Anxiety/*drug therapy/*psychology Behavior, Animal/*drug effects Chlordiazepoxide/*pharmacology Diazepam/*pharmacology Dose-Response Relationship, Drug *Electromagnetic Fields Environment Exploratory Behavior/drug effects Grooming/drug effects

Comment:

Choleris, E Thomas, A W Kavaliers, M Prato, F S Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't United States Neuroscience and biobehavioral reviews Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2001 May;25(3):235-60.

Address:

Room 9222D, Department of Psychology, Social Science Center, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada N6A 5C2.

Book title:

Neurosci Biobehav Rev

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