Mar 20, 2002

A simple procedure for assessing ataxia in rats: effects of phencyclidine

Pharmacology, Biochemistry, and Behavior
Susan M MelnickAaron Ettenberg

Abstract

The present study describes an objective, cost- and time-efficient procedure for characterizing the ataxic effects of psychoactive drugs. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were administered an intraperitoneal injection of either saline or one of three doses (1, 5 or 10 mg/kg) of phencyclidine (PCP) 15 min prior to being placed into an empty standard operant conditioning chamber (all manipulanda were removed). The floor of the test apparatus consisted of parallel rows of metal rods spaced approximately 1.5 cm apart. During a 5-min test, a single observer counted the frequency with which each animal's paws (front or back) slipped between the rows of bars that constituted the cage floor. The data demonstrated that while saline animals exhibited no instability in their ambulation, PCP-treated animals demonstrated a highly reliable dose-dependent increase in the number of "paw slips" in a single trial. Since animals are known to develop tolerance to the ataxic response to PCP, the validity of the test as a measure of drug-induced ataxia was examined in a separate group of animals treated with the middle (5 mg/kg) dose every other day over the course of a 9-day period (i.e., resulting in five injection trials). In this experiment, each subseq...Continue Reading

Mentioned in this Paper

Ataxia as Late Effect of Cerebrovascular Disease
Phencyclidine Hydrobromide
Research Methodology
Rats, Sprague-Dawley
Phencyclidine
Rod Photoreceptors
Ataxic
Ambulation
Ataxia
Dose-Response Relationship, Drug

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