PMID: 6129605Jan 1, 1982

Pharmacological investigations of neurotransmitter involvement in passive avoidance responding: a review and some new results

Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
G Bammer

Abstract

The roles of acetylcholine (ACh), noradrenaline (NA), dopamine (DA) and serotonin (5-HT) in passive avoidance responding are examined by reviewing previous studies of the effects on this task of drugs which alter the functioning of these neurotransmitter systems and also by presenting the results of a new study. This new study includes a number of drugs which do not seem to have been examined before, namely pilocarpine, pempidine, pentolinium, tetrabenazine, desipramine, clonidine, isoprenaline, pimozide, fluoxetine, L-tryptophan, methysergide and cyproheptadine. Because there is large variability in the effects of any one drug or class of drugs on passive avoidance responding, it is difficult to determine the exact involvement of the various neurotransmitter systems. There is also little good evidence that drug effects on performance of the passive avoidance response are caused by drug-induced changes in learning and memory processes or by state-dependent effects. Three other factors which may influence performance of the passive avoidance response-shock sensitivity, the biochemical response to stress and locomotor activity-are discussed and may be responsible for many of the drug-induced changes in passive avoidance responding.

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