Benzodiazepine Receptor Function in the Chick Social Separation–Stress Procedure

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The role of benzodiazepine (BZ) receptors in modulating social separation–induced distress vocalizations (DVocs) and stress-induced analgesia (SIA) were examined in 8-day-old cockerels (Gallus gallus). In Experiment 1, the BZ agonist chlordiazepoxide (CDP; 5.0 mg/kg) reversed both DVocs and SIA in isolated chicks. Coadministration of the BZ antagonist flumazenil (0.01, 0.03, or 0.10 mg/kg) reversed CDP anxiolytic effects. In Experiment 2, the BZ agonists alprazolam (ALP; 0.065, 0.125, 0.25, or 0.50 mg/kg) and lorazepam (LOR; 0.125, 0.25, 0.50, or 1.0 mg/kg) dose dependently reversed social separation–induced DVocs and SIA. The ED50s for ALP and LOR in attenuating DVocs were 0.19 and 0.34 mg/kg, respectively. These data strongly support the theory that CDP anxiolytic effects are mediated by BZ receptor activity in the chick social separation procedure (Experiment 1) and that this model is sensitive to BZ agonists of different potencies (Experiment 2).

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