PubMed 1324744

Referenced in Channelpedia wiki pages of: none

Automatically associated channels: Cav2.1

Title: Effects of beta-carboline on fear-related behavioral and neurohormonal responses in infant rhesus monkeys.

Authors: N H Kalin, S E Shelton, J G Turner

Journal, date & volume: Biol. Psychiatry, 1992 May 15 , 31, 1008-19

PubMed link:

We examined the effects of the inverse benzodiazepine agonist ethyl-beta-carboline-3-carboxylate (beta-CCE) on behavioral, hormonal, and neurochemical responses in infant rhesus monkeys exposed to fearful situations. Our paradigm elicits three distinct adaptive patterns of defensive behavior. From previous work, we hypothesized that behaviors induced by attachment bond disruption are predominantly mediated by opiate systems, whereas behaviors induced by the threat of attack are mediated by benzodiazepine systems. When beta-CCE (0, 125, 250, and 500 micrograms/kg) was administered immediately after maternal separation, the 500 micrograms/kg dose increased freezing and the 250 and 500 micrograms/kg doses reduced environmental exploration. Test conditions produced increased plasma ACTH and cortisol concentrations and increased cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) concentrations of MHPG and DOPAC; beta-CCE did not further affect these metabolites. A dose of 1000 micrograms/kg of beta-CCE increased CSF concentrations of DOPAC and MHPG in infants left with their mothers. During test conditions, it further increased CSF MHPG (but not DOPAC) concentrations, and reduced cooing while increasing freezing and barking and other hostile behaviors. Our results thus confirm that benzodiazepine systems mediate threat-related behaviors and suggest that coos, which were thought to predominantly reflect the degree of distress during separation, can be modulated by the infant's level of fear. beta-CCE also activated stress-related pituitary-adrenal hormonal systems and brain norepinephrine (NE) and dopamine (DA) systems. These effects occurred when animals remained undisturbed in their home cages with their mothers, suggesting that benzodiazepine receptors directly modulate brain NE and DA systems.