Psychology, Department of


Date of this Version



Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior 98:1 (March 2011), pp. 155–160; doi: 10.1016/j.pbb.2010.12.018


Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Inc. Used by permission.


Suppression of conditioned avoidance response is a preclinical behavioral index of antipsychotic activity. Previous work shows that olanzapine and risperidone disrupt avoidance response elicited by a less salient conditioned stimulus (CS2) to a greater extent than avoidance elicited by a more salient stimulus (CS1), suggesting that antipsychotic drugs may have a weakening action on motivational salience of stimuli. In the present study, we further examined this mechanism of antipsychotic action, focusing on the possible impact of baseline difference of CS1 and CS2 response rates on the avoidance-disruptive effect of olanzapine and risperidone. Rats were first trained to acquire avoidance responding in a procedure in which the number of CS2 trials (i.e. 20) was twice the number of CS1 trials (i.e. 10), but the percentage of CS2-shock pairing was set at 25% lower (15 trials out of 20) than the percentage of CS1- shock pairing (20 trials out of 20). They were then tested daily under olanzapine (0.5 and 1.0 mg/kg, sc) or risperidone (0.33 and 1.0 mg/kg, sc) for 5 consecutive days. Repeated olanzapine and risperidone treatment dose-dependently disrupted avoidance responding to both CS1 and CS2. Both drugs at the high dose disrupted the CS2 avoidance to a greater extent than the CS1 avoidance. In the final challenge test, rats previously treated with olanzapine were tested under risperidone (0.33 mg/kg), whereas rats previously treated with risperidone were tested under olanzapine (0.5 mg/kg). Results show that rats previously treated with risperidone 1.0 mg/kg group made significantly fewer avoidance responses than the vehicles under olanzapine at 0.5 mg/kg. These findings confirm that olanzapine and risperidone disrupt avoidance response primarily by selectively attenuating the motivational salience of the CS. The present study also suggests that there is a generality of antipsychotic drug experience that is mediated by a shared interoceptive drug state mechanism.