Discriminative stimulus properties of oxazepam in the pigeon

Life Sci. 1987 Jan 5;40(1):71-9. doi: 10.1016/0024-3205(87)90254-2.


Five pigeons were trained to discriminate IM injections of oxazepam (4.0 mg/kg) from vehicle with responding maintained under a fixed-ratio 30 schedule of food delivery. Under test conditions, responding increased in a dose-dependent manner in all pigeons after the administration of other benzodiazepines including diazepam (0.01-1.0 mg/kg), temazepam (0.01-3.0 mg/kg), halazepam (0.1-56.0 mg/kg), and midazolam (0.1-1.0 mg/kg) as well as the barbiturate pentobarbital (2.0-8.0 mg/kg) and the non-benzodiazepine anxiolytic CL 218,872 (1.0-8.0 mg/kg). At the higher doses of each of these compounds, over 80% of responding occurred on the oxazepam-appropriate key. Cocaine (0.5-4.0 mg/kg), bupropion (3.0-56.0 mg/kg) and nortriptyline (3.0-56.0 mg/kg) failed to substitute for oxazepam even at doses that decreased rates of responding. The discriminative stimulus (DS) effects of the lowest doses of oxazepam and CL 218,872 that produced 100% drug-appropriate responding were blocked by the benzodiazepine antagonist Ro 15-1788. This antagonism was reversed by increasing the dose of the agonists. The DS effects of diazepam were antagonized partially by Ro 15-1788 (3 of 5 pigeons), and the antagonism was reversed by higher doses of diazepam in two of these pigeons. The DS effects of pentobarbital were antagonized by Ro 15-1788 in 2 of 5 pigeons, but the blockade was not reversed by higher pentobarbital doses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Anxiety Agents / pharmacology
  • Columbidae
  • Discrimination Learning / drug effects*
  • Flumazenil / pharmacology
  • Oxazepam / pharmacology*
  • Pentobarbital / pharmacology
  • Pyridazines / pharmacology


  • Anti-Anxiety Agents
  • Pyridazines
  • Flumazenil
  • CL 218872
  • Oxazepam
  • Pentobarbital