The effectiveness of neuroleptics in disrupting conditioned active avoidance has led to the widespread use of this test as an index on antipsychotic efficacy, whereas the tendency for these drugs to induce catalepsy is believed to reflect their propensity to cause extrapyramidal motor side-effects. Although the typical neuroleptic haloperidol produces catalepsy as well as profound deficits in conditioned active avoidance, the atypical neuroleptic clozapine does not induce catalepsy and is less effective than haloperidol in disrupting active avoidance. Furthermore, clozapine pretreatment prevents haloperidol-induced catalepsy. We investigated whether clozapine pretreatment might also reduce the disruptive effects of haloperidol on two-way active avoidance. We assessed the avoidance acquisition of the following drug treatment groups in which animals received two injections prior to testing: vehicle + vehicle, vehicle + haloperidol (0.1 mg/kg, i.p.), clozapine (2.5, 5.0 or 10 mg/kg, i.p.) + haloperidol (0.1 mg/kg, i.p.), or clozapine (2.5, 5.0 or 10 mg/kg, i.p.) + vehicle. Haloperidol-pretreated animals showed markedly impaired active avoidance, deficits which were improved by 2.5 and 5 mg/kg but not by 10 mg/kg clozapine pretreatment. These data suggest that the disruptive effects of haloperidol on conditioned active avoidance partially mirror its capacity to induce catalepsy and extrapyramidal motor symptoms. Furthermore, this study indicates that clozapine may be effective in reducing motor side-effects caused by typical neuroleptics. (C) 2000 Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
- Ext rapyramidal motor symptoms