A central cholinergic inhibitory system as a basis for tonic immobility (animal hypnosis) in chickens

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4 experiments provided support for the hypothesis that tonic immobility (TI) in chickens, which may be analogous to response suppression in the rat, is a result of fear and is mediated by central cholinergic systems. A total of 124 experimental and 54 control, White Leghorn cockerel chicks were the Ss. Exp I established that scopolamine, a central and peripheral acting anticholinergic, will reduce the duration of TI, whereas methylscopolamine, which acts only peripherally, will not. Exp II established a dose-response curve for scopolamine and TI. Exp III demonstrated that scopolamine increased activity and that this increase may be a factor in reducing the duration of TI. Exp IV showed that physostigmine, which blocks acetylcholinesterase and allows longer action of acetylcholine at the synapse, increased the duration of TI. (18 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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