Subscribe: Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology - Vol 17, Iss 6
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Preview: Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology - Vol 17, Iss 6

Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology - Vol 25, Iss 2

Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology seeks to promote the discipline of psychopharmacology in its fullest diversity. Psychopharmacology necessarily involves behavioral change, psychological processes, or their physiological substrates as one centr

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Copyright: Copyright 2017 American Psychological Association

Introduction to special issue on animal models of neuropsychiatric disorders and substance use disorders: Progress and gaps.


This is an introduction to the special issue, “Animal Models of Neuropsychiatric Disorders and Substance Use Disorders: Progress and Gaps.” This issue presents 6 original research reports describing the use of mice and rats to model neurodevelopmental disorders, depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, and substance use disorders. Collectively, these studies demonstrate the progress of the field and the gaps and challenges that remain. They also illustrate the range of conditions that are informed by animal models and identify the clinical populations that stand to benefit from their use in preclinical research. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Effects of adolescent exposure to methylmercury and d-amphetamine on reversal learning and an extradimensional shift in male mice.


Adolescence is associated with the continued maturation of dopamine neurotransmission and is implicated in the etiology of many psychiatric illnesses. Adolescent exposure to neurotoxicants that distort dopamine neurotransmission, such as methylmercury (MeHg), may modify the effects of chronic d-amphetamine (d-AMP) administration on reversal learning and attentional-set shifting. Male C57Bl/6n mice were randomly assigned to two MeHg-exposure groups (0 ppm and 3 ppm) and two d-AMP-exposure groups (saline and 1 mg/kg/day), producing four treatment groups (n = 10–12/group): control, MeHg, d-AMP, and MeHg + d-AMP. MeHg exposure (via drinking water) spanned postnatal days 21–59 (the murine adolescent period), and once daily intraperitoneal injections of d-AMP or saline spanned postnatal days 28–42. As adults, mice were trained on a spatial-discrimination-reversal (SDR) task in which the spatial location of a lever press predicted reinforcement. Following 2 SDRs, a visual-discrimination task (extradimensional shift) was instated in which the presence of a stimulus light above a lever predicted reinforcement. Responding was modeled using a logistic function, which estimated the rate (slope) of a behavioral transition and trials required to complete half a transition (half-max). MeHg, d-AMP, and MeHg + d-AMP exposure increased estimates of half-max on the second reversal. MeHg exposure increased half-max and decreased the slope term following the extradimensional shift, but these effects did not occur following MeHg + d-AMP exposure. MeHg + d-AMP exposure produced more perseverative errors and omissions following a reversal. Adolescent exposure to MeHg can modify the behavioral effects of chronic d-AMP administration. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Adolescent chronic restraint stress (aCRS) elicits robust depressive-like behavior in freely cycling, adult female rats without increasing anxiety-like behaviors.


Stress during times of rapid development is a risk factor for Major Depressive Disorder, a mood disorder that disproportionately affects women. We developed an adolescent chronic restraint stress (aCRS) protocol using female rats to address the impact of adolescent stress on female adult depressive-like behavior. Animals were divided into 4 treatment groups: not restrained:saline (NRSAL), not restrained:desipramine (NRDES), restrained:saline (RSAL), and restrained:desipramine (RDES). NRSAL and NRDES rats were housed in a separate colony room from RSAL and RDES rats. All animals were weighed and handled daily. Beginning postnatal day (PND) 34(±1), RSAL and RDES rats were restrained for 1 hour daily for 14 consecutive days. Beginning PND 55(±1), NRDES and RDES rats were given subcutaneous desipramine (5 mg/kg), which served as a positive control, daily for 14 consecutive days. During that same time period, NRSAL and RSAL rats were given subcutaneous saline daily. aCRS (RSAL and RDES) rats showed significantly attenuated weight gain compared with nonrestrained (NRSAL and NRDES) rats during the restraint period. Weight gain normalized after the final restraint session. Behavioral testing took place PND 68–69(±1), and included open field testing, the elevated plus maze, locomotor activity, and the forced swim test (FST). RSAL rats showed significantly more immobility in the FST versus all other groups, indicating depressive-like behavior. No differences between groups were observed in the other behavioral measures. These results indicate that aCRS elicits depressive-like behavioral characteristics in adult female rats without increasing anxiety-like behaviors. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Differential characteristics of ketamine self-administration in the olfactory bulbectomy model of depression in male rats.


Ketamine has been extensively studied for its antidepressant potential, with promising results in both preclinical and clinical studies. However, concerns regarding its abuse liabilities greatly limit its potential to become an approved treatment for depression. Therefore, a better understanding the risks and benefits of ketamine use in depression is needed. This study aimed to assess the characteristics of operant intravenous (IV) ketamine self-administration and relapse-like behavior in the olfactory bulbectomy (OBX) model of depression in male rats. Twenty-five male Wistar rats were divided randomly into 2 groups; in 1 group the bilateral olfactory bulbectomy was performed, whereas the other group was sham-operated. Intravenous self-administration of ketamine (.5 mg/kg/infusion) was conducted under a fixed ratio 1 schedule of reinforcement. After reaching stable drug intakes, rats then underwent a 14-day period of forced abstinence followed by a drug-free relapse-like session. The forced swim test was conducted before the commencement of the self-administration protocol and on the 1st day of abstinence. Consistent with findings in previous studies on other substances, OBX animals showed increased operant IV ketamine self-administration. In contrast, ketamine-seeking behavior in the OBX group did not differ from sham-operated animals during the relapse-like session, whereas previous studies on other psychostimulants like methamphetamine and cocaine reported increases. Our findings suggest substantially different underlying neuroadaptations between chronic ketamine and psychostimulant exposure. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Chronic corticosterone administration effects on behavioral emotionality in female c57bl6 mice.


Understanding the pathophysiology of affective disorders and their treatment relies on the availability of experimental models that mimic aspects of the disease. Most of the studies on depressive disorders are conducted with male rodents, mostly because including females in protocols is more difficult. Indeed, there is a complex series of changes in the brain of females due to the estrous cycle, adding an important variability factor to the disease. However, twice as many women as men have a lifetime diagnosis of major depressive disorder (MDD), so we need to develop reliable female models of depression to improve our understanding of this disease. Here, we describe the effects of chronic corticosterone administration (CORT) on female mice, a procedure known to enhance behavioral emotionality in male mice. A dose–response study showed that 4 weeks of CORT exposure at 35 μg/ml in the drinking water enhanced the emotionality score of female mice, but with a very small size effect. Tests of longer treatment duration failed to potentiate the behavioral effects of CORT. As some steps of adult hippocampal neurogenesis are known to be sensitive to chronic CORT exposure, cell proliferation and survival, as well as neuronal maturation in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus, analyses revealed no effect of chronic CORT exposure in female mice. Overall, this study showed that female C57BL6 mice are insensitive to chronic CORT as a way to model anxio-depressive-like behavior. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Topiramate reduces basal anxiety and relieves ethanol withdrawal-induced anxious behaviors in male rats.


Anxiety disorders are associated with increased impairments in psychosocial functioning, work productivity and health-related quality of life. In addition, anxiety is a common symptom of ethanol withdrawal and it strongly contributes to relapse. Benzodiazepines are frequently prescribed for relief of anxiety and ethanol withdrawal symptoms but considerable side effects, such sedation, tolerance and dependence, are observed during treatment. Therefore, better drugs are needed for the treatment of anxiety states. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether topiramate would reduce basal levels of anxiety and ethanol-withdrawn induced anxiety in male rats; the elevated plus maze (EPM) was used as an animal model of anxiety. In Experiment 1, topiramate (0, 10, and 40 mg/kg, i.g.) and diazepam (1 mg/kg, i.p.) was acutely and repeatedly administered to naive rats. In Experiments 2 and 3, topiramate (0 or 40 mg/kg, i.g.) was acutely and chronically administered in early (72 hr after ethanol removal) and protracted (21 days after ethanol removal) ethanol-withdrawn rats, respectively. Acute and repeated topiramate treatment induced anxiolytic-like effects in naive rats. Early ethanol withdrawal increased anxiety, and acute topiramate administration counteracted the anxiogenic-like effects of ethanol removal. Protracted withdrawal did not produce lasting changes in anxiety but topiramate was equally effective at reducing anxiety in ethanol-withdrawn and control animals. Importantly, no signs of tolerance to the anxiolytic effects of topiramate were observed. In conclusion, these data support a role for topiramate in the treatment of basal levels of anxiety and ethanol withdrawal-induced anxiety. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Cocaine self-administration in male and female rats perinatally exposed to PCBs: Evaluating drug use in an animal model of environmental contaminant exposure.


Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are ubiquitous environmental toxicants known to adversely impact human health. Ortho-substituted PCBs affect the nervous system, including the brain dopaminergic system. The reinforcing effects of psychostimulants are typically modulated via the dopaminergic system, so this study used a preclinical (i.e., rodent) model to evaluate whether developmental contaminant exposure altered intravenous self-administration (IV SA) for the psychostimulant cocaine. Long-Evans rats were perinatally exposed to 6 or 3 mg/kg/day of PCBs throughout gestation and lactation and compared with nonexposed controls. Rats were trained to lever press for a food reinforcer in an operant chamber under a fixed-ratio 5 (FR5) schedule and later underwent jugular catheterization. Food reinforcers were switched for infusions of 250 μg of cocaine, but the response requirement to earn the reinforcer remained. Active lever presses and infusions were higher in males during response acquisition and maintenance. The same sex effect was observed during later sessions which evaluated responding for cocaine doses ranging from 31.25–500 μg. PCB-exposed males (not females) exhibited an increase in cocaine infusions (with a similar trend in active lever presses) during acquisition, but no PCB-related differences were observed during maintenance, examination of the cocaine dose-response relationship, or progressive ratio (PR) sessions. Overall, these results indicated perinatal PCB exposure enhanced early cocaine drug-seeking in this preclinical model of developmental contaminant exposure (particularly the males), but no differences were seen during later cocaine SA sessions. As such, additional questions regarding substance abuse proclivity may be warranted in epidemiological studies evaluating environmental contaminant exposures. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)