The β-carboline FG-7142 exerts many stress-like effects in the adult rat, including the inhibition of locomotor exploration. However, comparable effects in immature animals have not been reported. Stress-like effects of FG-7142 are mediated via its inverse agonist actions on gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors. GABA systems change considerably with development and GABA agonists such as diazepam have opposite behavioral actions in immature and adult rats. Accordingly, we compared FG-7142 effects on locomotor exploration in postweanling and adult rats. Postweanling male rats (24 days) and adult rats (90 days) received a single injection of vehicle or FG-7142 (15 mg/kg i.p.) and 15 min later were placed in photocell monitors for 1 h. Although postweanling animals traveled a smaller distance overall than adults, FG-7142 inhibited locomotor exploration to a similar degree in both groups. We conclude that FG-7142 exerts stress-like effects in postweanling rats and may be considered for use as a model of childhood stress.
- Gamma-Aminobutyric acid
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