Drug action on anxiety models with special reference to serotonergic mechanisms

  • Martyn A.E. Critchley

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


A study has been made of drugs acting at 5-HT receptors on animal models of anxiety. An elevated X-maze was used as a model of anxiety for rats and the actions of various ligands for the 5-HT receptor, and its subtypes, were examined in this model. 5-HT agonists, with varying affinities for the 5-HT receptor subtypes, were demonstrated to have anxiogenic-like activity. The 5-HT2 receptor antagonists ritanserin and ketanserin exhibited an anxiolytic-like profile. The new putatuve anxiolytics ipsapirone and buspirone, which are believed to be selective for 5-HT1 receptors, were also examined. The former had an anxiolytic profile whilst the latter was without effect. Antagonism studies showed the anxiogenic response to 8-hydroxy-2-(Di-n-propylamino)tetralin (8-OH-DPAT) to be antagonised by ipsapirone, pindolol, alprenolol and para-chlorophenylalanine, but not by diazepam, ritanserin, metoprolol, ICI118,551 or buspirone. To confirm some of the results obtained in the elevated X-maze the Social Interaction Test of anxiety was used. Results in this test mirrored the effects seen with the 5-HT agonists, ipsapirone and pindolol, whilst the 5-HT2 receptor antagonists were without effect. Studies using operant conflict models of anxiety produced marginal and varying results which appear to be in agreement with recent criticisms of such models. Finally, lesions of the dorsal raphe nucleus (DRN) were performed in order to investigate the mechanisms involved in the production of the anxiogenic response to 8-OH-DPAT. Overall the results lend support to the involvement of 5-HT, and more precisely 5-HT1, receptors in the manifestation of anxiety in such animal models.
Date of Award1988
Original languageEnglish


  • drug action
  • anxiety models
  • serotonergic mechanisms

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