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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Alphaxalone, a steroid anesthetic, inhibits the startle-enhancing effects of corticotropin releasing factor, but not strychnine.

Corticotropin releasing factor ( CRF) is a 41 amino acid peptide implicated in the expression of stress- and fear-enhanced behaviors. CRF potentiates the amplitude of the startle reflex, and this effect is reversed by benzodiazepines (BDZ), suggesting that the startle-enhancing effects of CRF are modulated by changes in the GABA/BDZ receptor complex. In the present study, CRF-potentiated startle is inhibited by alphaxalone, a pregnane steroid anesthetic that is thought to act via the GABA/BDZ receptor complex. Alphaxalone (ALX) does not reduce CRF-potentiated startle by producing a generalized reduction in reactivity, since blockade of CRF-stimulated startle was not accompanied by an ALX-induced reduction in baseline startle amplitude and ALX does not reduce strychnine-potentiated startle. The effects of alphaxalone on CRF-potentiated startle may not be generalized to all CRF-stimulated behaviours, since alphaxalone failed to disrupt CRF-stimulated locomotor activity. CRF-potentiated startle is a useful assay for studying the effects of novel anxiolytic agents, and alphaxalone appears to be a steroid anesthetic with anxiolytic properties in this assay.[1]


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