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A psychopharmological study of anxiety in mice and pigs.

Carey, Margaret Patricia; (1991) A psychopharmological study of anxiety in mice and pigs. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D.), University College London. Green open access

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An attempt was made to study the psychological state of anxiety through the development and evaluation of two behavioural tests; an exploratory conflict test in the mouse and a pharmacological conditioning procedure in the pig. The tests were used to investigate hormonal and environmental influences on the anxiety state of these animals. The conflict arising from a light/dark choice exploratory situation was examined in male mice for its sensitivity to the anxiolytic 1,4-benzodiazepine diazepam. Only one parameter of behaviour in this test (light/dark transitions) showed a dose related increase to diazepam in male mice. Further experiments revealed that a diazepam induced increase in this parameter of behaviour does not reflect a specific anti-anxiety drug action. Experiments which indicate that the light/dark choice test does not detect an anxiolytic action of diazepam are described. The parameter of light/dark transitions did not fluctuate in untreated female mice during the oestrous cycle. However, a diazepam induced change similar to that observed in males was found only at oestrus and dioestrus. Mice at pro-oestrus, metoestrus II and late dioestrus did not show this response to diazepam while mice at metoestrus I showed a diazepam induced decrease in the number of light/dark transitions. This effect of diazepam at metoestrus I was paralleled by changes in other test parameters indicative of an anxiogenic drug action or a photophobic effect. Measurements of whole brain concentrations of diazepam revealed that these behavioural fluctuations in response to diazepam during the oestrous cycle are not due to a change in drug metabolism or distribution. In the pharmacological conditioning experiments, pigs were trained to discriminate the anxiogenic drug pentylenetetrazole from an injection of the saline vehicle alone. A conditioning procedure was developed whereby the time course of the pentylenetetrazole cue could be measured. The behavioural and pharmacological specificity of this cue was investigated. This study revealed that the cue corresponds to an anxiety state. Application of this technique to a range of environmental stimuli which mimic conditions encountered in pig husbandry revealed its ability to detect the presence and time course of anxiety in these situations.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D.
Title: A psychopharmological study of anxiety in mice and pigs.
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis Digitised by Proquest.
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10124737
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