Impaired social motivation and increased aggression in rats subchronically exposed to phencyclidine

Physiol Behav. 2009 Mar 2;96(3):394-8. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2008.11.002. Epub 2008 Nov 13.


Phencyclidine (PCP) treatment induces social withdrawal in the rat model of schizophrenia but little is known about the qualitative adequacy of behaviors displayed during interactions. Affiliative, avoidance, and aggressive behaviors were examined in rats 20 h after the 1st, the 8th, and the 15th injection of 10 mg/kg of PCP or of a saline vehicle. PCP treatment reduced the initiation of affiliative contacts with a control congener and increased aggressive responses, in the absence of drug outcomes on time spent in social interaction. These results suggest that subchronic PCP administration in rats affects perception and appraisal of social situations as well as motivation to interact. Such pathological behaviors are consistent with the social impairments characteristic of human schizophrenia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aggression / drug effects*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Avoidance Learning / drug effects
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Antagonists / pharmacology*
  • Exploratory Behavior / drug effects
  • Male
  • Motivation*
  • Phencyclidine / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Long-Evans
  • Social Behavior*


  • Excitatory Amino Acid Antagonists
  • Phencyclidine