Characterization of benzodiazepine-sensitive behaviors in the A/J and C57BL/6J inbred strains of mice

Chantal Mathis, Steven M. Paul, Jacqueline N. Crawley

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Exploratory behaviors as well as pharmacological actions of γ-aminobutyric acidA (GABAA)/benzodiazepine receptor agonists and inverse agonists were characterized in C57BL/6J and A/J strains of mice. C57BL/6J mice displayed higher levels of exploratory behavior than A/J mice in the light⇋dark exploration model of anxiety and in an openfield test, suggesting that C57BL/6J mice are less "emotional" and more active than A/J mice, respectively. However, C57BL/6J mice were more sensitive than A/J mice to the anxiolytic effects of diazepam in the light⇋dark exploration model. In contrast, A/J mice,were more sensitive than C57BL/6J mice to the convulsant effects of methyl-β-carboline-3-carboxylate. C57BL/6J mice showed no evidence of acquisition of a passive avoidance task, while A/J readily acquired this memory task at low levels of footshock. C57BL/6J and A/J mice should be useful parental strains in recombinant inbred lines for investigating the genetic determinants of benzodiazepine-sensitive behaviors and sensitivity to drugs acting on the GABAA/benzodiazepine receptor complex.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-180
Number of pages10
JournalBehavior genetics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 1994


  • Anxiety
  • exploratory activity
  • memory
  • seizures
  • γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA)/benzodiazepine receptor


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