Light/dark cycle manipulation influences mice behaviour in the elevated plus maze

Behav Brain Res. 2006 Jan 6;166(1):140-9. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2005.07.018. Epub 2005 Sep 13.


The sensitization of animal models of anxiety is of great importance to detect potential anxiolytic drugs. Our goal was to evaluate the influence of manipulations of the light/dark cycle on the basal anxious behaviour of mice and the efficacy of two anxiolytic treatments in the mouse elevated plus maze (EPM). Male Swiss mice were exposed to different conditions of illumination for one week prior to testing. In the first experiment of the study, we evaluated the anxiolytic effects of diazepam, at the dose of 1 mg/kg, intraperitoneally (i.p.) administered 30 min before the test. In the second experiment, we examined the effects of WAY 100635, a 5-HT(1A) receptor antagonist, at the doses of 0.03 and 2 mg/kg, i.p. administered 30 min before the test. The locomotor activity of control mice and the anxiolytic efficacy of diazepam in the EPM were not affected by manipulation of the light/dark cycle. Conversely, the effects of WAY 100635, which were qualitatively different from those of diazepam, seemed to be influenced by the illumination conditions imposed before the test. We can conclude that diazepam's effect, which is characterized by a strong "disinhibition", was more robust than the 5-HT(1A) antagonist's effect, which was more anxioselective. Moreover, the light conditions imposed on mice before the test may be an important factor in the variability of the response to serotonergic but not to benzodiazepine treatments.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Anti-Anxiety Agents / pharmacology
  • Anxiety / psychology*
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology
  • Behavior, Animal / radiation effects
  • Darkness*
  • Diazepam / pharmacology
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Light*
  • Male
  • Maze Learning / drug effects
  • Maze Learning / physiology
  • Maze Learning / radiation effects*
  • Mice
  • Motor Activity / drug effects
  • Piperazines / pharmacology
  • Pyridines / pharmacology
  • Serotonin Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Time Factors


  • Anti-Anxiety Agents
  • Piperazines
  • Pyridines
  • Serotonin Antagonists
  • N-(2-(4-(2-methoxyphenyl)-1-piperazinyl)ethyl)-N-(2-pyridinyl)cyclohexanecarboxamide
  • Diazepam