Effects of Chronic Trazodone Administration on Conflict Behavior in the Sprague-Dawley Rat
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Though panic disorders are effectively treated by chronic administration of older antidepressants such as imipramine or desipramine, the anti-panic efficacy of the newer agent trazodone is less dramatic. Recent reports have indicated that chronic administration of an anti-depressant results in delayed anti-conflict effects in the Conditioned Suppression of Drinking (CSD) paradigm similar to that seen in clinical research, suggesting that the CSD may be a potential animal model for the study of panic disorder and prospective anti-panic treatments. The present study examined the effects of chronic trazodone treatment in the CSD paradigm. Rats were subjected to a 10 minute test session once a day, 4 days a week for approximately 3 months, during which they were allowed to drink water with periodic electrification accompanied by a tone. Half of the subjects received a mouth shock while the others received a grid-floor shock. Subjects received chronic treatments twice-daily with either saline or trazodone (10 mg/kg for 4 weeks followed by 20 mg/kg for 4 weeks). Punished responding in the trazodone treated subjects consistently matched saline treated controls. Water intake remained near equivalent under different treatment groups and shock groups. Effects of mouth shock versus grid-floor shock were nearly equally effective in their ability to decrease punished responding. These findings are consistent with the clinical findings that trazodone exhibits only moderate (if any) efficacy as an anti-panic treatment in man.