Effects of chlordiazepoxide and buspirone on plasma catecholamine and corticosterone levels in rats under basal and stress conditions

S.F. de Boer, J L Slangen, J van der Gugten

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The effects of the classical benzodiazepine (BDZ) anxiolytic drug chlordiazepoxide (CDP) and the non-BDZ anxiolytic agent buspirone (BUSP) on basal and stress-induced plasma noradrenaline (NA), adrenaline (A) and corticosterone (CS) release were investigated. Male Wistar rats provided with a permanent heart catheter and a permanent stomach catheter were used. Placement of rats into an unfamiliar cage (novel environment stress; NES), that elevated CS, NA and A, was used as a stressor. Acute administration of CDP (1-27 mg/kg) produced dose-related increases in basal plasma CS secretion but was without effect on basal NA content. The largest dose of CDP caused a slight short-term A elevation. The CDP effect on basal CS secretion tolerated with repeated drug treatment and was completely blocked after acute pretreatment with the BDZ receptor antagonist flumazenil. Acute treatment with BUSP (2-20 mg/kg) caused a marked and dose dependent increase in the plasma levels of A, NA and CS. A medium dose of CDP (9 mg/kg) attenuated the NES-induced CS and A elevations. A high dose of CDP (27 mg/kg), that elevated basal CS release, prevented a further CS increase by NES and inhibited the NA and A response to NES. BUSP (2 or 20 mg/kg) was not effective in attenuating the NES-elicited rise of CS, NA and A. However, the 20 mg/kg dose of BUSP actually enhanced the NES-induced A response. In conclusion, BUSP did not show the BDZ-like property to inhibit stress-induced elevations in CS, NA and A. Furthermore, the findings suggest that CDP and BUSP differentially affect the mechanisms controlling CS, NA and A release during basal and stress conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-39
Number of pages11
JournalEndocrinologia experimentalis
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Mar-1990


  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Buspirone
  • Catecholamines
  • Chlordiazepoxide
  • Corticosterone
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Reference Values
  • Stress, Physiological

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