Psicothema was founded in Asturias (northern Spain) in 1989, and is published jointly by the Psychology Faculty of the University of Oviedo and the Psychological Association of the Principality of Asturias (Colegio Oficial de Psicólogos del Principado de Asturias).
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Psicothema, 2008. Vol. Vol. 20 (nº 3). 460-464

Anxiogenic-like effects of gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB) in mice tested in the light-dark box

José Francisco Navarro, Guadalupe Dávila, Carmen Pedraza and Jorge L. Arias*

Universidad de Málaga and * Universidad de Oviedo

Gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB) is a drug with abuse potential, popularly known as «liquid ecstasy». It is an endogenous compound of the mammalian brain which satisfies many of the criteria for consideration as a neurotransmitter or neuromodulator. In this study, the effects of acute administration of GHB (40, 80 and 120 mg/kg, ip) on anxiety, tested in the light/dark box, were examined in male mice of the OF.1 strain. Likewise, we compared the behavioural profile of GHB with that induced by mCPP (1 mg/kg, ip), a compound with known anxiogenic actions. GHB-treated mice spent notably less time in the lit area (40 and 80 mg/kg) and more time in the dark area (all doses), whereas the total number of ‘rearings’, transitions and latency were significantly reduced. A very similar behavioural profile was observed in mCPP-treated animals. Overall, these findings indicate that GHB exhibits anxiogenic-like properties in male mice. It is suggested that the anxiogenic effects of GHB could be related to its ability to modulate GABA and/or dopaminergic receptors.

Efectos ansiogénicos del ácido gamma-hidroxibutírico (GHB) en ratones evaluados en el test del «light-dark». El ácido gamma-hidroxibutírico es una droga con potencial de abuso popularmente conocida como «éxtasis líquido». Es un compuesto endógeno presente en el cerebro de mamíferos que cumple muchos de los criterios para ser considerado como neurotransmisor o neuromodulador. En este estudio examinamos el efecto de la administración aguda de GHB (40, 80 y 120 mg/kg, ip) sobre la ansiedad evaluada en el test de «light-dark» en ratones machos de la cepa OF.1. Asimismo, comparamos el perfil conductual del GHB con el inducido por mCPP (1 mg/kg, ip), un compuesto con conocidos efectos ansiogénicos. Los animales tratados con GHB pasaron significativamente menos tiempo en el compartimento iluminado (40 y 80 mg/kg) y más tiempo en el compartimento oscuro (con todas las dosis), mostrando además una reducción significativa del número total de «rearings», transiciones y latencia. En los animales que recibieron mCPP se observó un perfil conductual muy similar. En conjunto, estos resultados indican que el GHB exhibe propiedades ansiogénicas en ratones machos. Se sugiere que los efectos ansiogénicos del GHB podrían estar relacionados con su capacidad para modular los receptores GABAérgicos y/o dopaminérgicos.


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