Tolerance, cross-tolerance and withdrawal in rats made dependent on diazepam

S. L. Pugh, M. S. Boone, M. W. Emmett-Oglesby

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4 Scopus citations


Rats were trained to discriminate pentylenetetrazole (PTZ; 20 mg/kg) from midazolam (MDZ; 1 mg/kg) and from saline using a three-lever food-reinforced choice task. Using a cumulative dosing procedure, PTZ substituted for PTZ, and MDZ, chlordiazepoxide and diazepam (DZP) substituted for MDZ, in a dose- dependent manner. The animals were then treated with chronic DZP (20 mg/kg/8 hr for 7 days); 24 hr after the last dose of this regimen, the dose-effect curve of DZP was redetermined. The ED50 for the discrimination of DZP increased 4.8-fold after chronic DZP. In a second group of subjects trained on this discrimination and treated with DZP (20 mg/kg/8 hr for 7 days), the ED50 for the discrimination of MDZ was increased 2.2-fold. After 14 days of recovery, the MDZ dose-effect curve shifted back to the left and was not significantly different from the ED50 value obtained before chronic DZP treatment. When the benzodiazepine antagonist flumazenil was tested in a cumulative manner (1.0-32.0 mg/kg), the animals selected the saline lever. Analogous to the previous chronic dosing regimen, DZP (20 mg/kg/8 hr/7 days) was then administered, and a combination of three tests were then given at 1, 2, 4, 7, 10 and 14 days after the last DZP treatment. On each of these days, a saline test was given first; it was followed by a DZP (2.5 mg/kg) test; which was then followed by a flumazenil (32.0 mg/kg) test. On the 1st day of testing, tolerance was seen to DZP and precipitated withdrawal (PTZ lever selection) was seen with flumazenil. Tolerance diminished progressively over 7 days; recovery from withdrawal was seen by day 14. These results support the hypothesis that an animal model of subjective effects can be used to simultaneously monitor the occurrence of tolerance, cross-tolerance and precipitated-withdrawal after chronic administration of a benzodiazepine agonist.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)751-758
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1992


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