Complex discriminative stimulus properties of (+)lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) in C57Bl/6J mice

Michael A. Benneyworth, Randy L. Smith, Robert J. Barrett, Elaine Sanders-Bush

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Rationale: The drug discrimination procedure is the most frequently used in vivo model of hallucinogen activity. Historically, most drug discrimination studies have been conducted in the rat. With the development of genetically modified mice, a powerful new tool has become available for investigating the mechanisms of drug-induced behavior. The current paper is part of an ongoing effort to determine the utility of the drug discrimination technique for evaluating hallucinogenic drugs in mice. Objective: To establish the training procedures and characterize the stimulus properties of (+)lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) in mice. Methods: Using a two-lever drug discrimination procedure, C57Bl/6J mice were trained to discriminate 0.45 mg/kg LSD vs saline on a VI30 sec schedule of reinforcement, with vanilla-flavored Ensure serving as the reinforcer. Results: As in rats, acquisition was orderly, but the training dose was nearly five-fold higher for mice than rats. LSD lever selection was dose-dependent. Time-course studies revealed a rapid loss of the LSD stimulus effects. The 5-HT2A/2C receptor agonist, 2,5-dimethoxy-4- bromoamphetamine [(-)DOB] (1.0 mg/kg), substituted fully for LSD and the 5-HT1A receptor agonist, 8-hydroxy-2-(di-n-propylamino)-tetralin (8-OH-DPAT) (1.6 mg/kg), substituted partially for LSD. Pretreatment with the 5-HT2A receptor-selective antagonist, MDL 100907, or the 5-HT 1A-selective antagonist WAY 100635, showed that each antagonist only partially blocked LSD discrimination. Substitution of 1.0 mg/kg (-)DOB for LSD was fully blocked by pretreatment with MDL 100907 but unaltered by WAY 100635 pretreatment. Conclusions: These data suggest that in mice the stimulus effects of LSD have both a 5-HT2A receptor and a 5-HT1A receptor component.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)854-862
Number of pages9
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 2005

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements This work was supported by a research grants from the National Institute of Health (DA-05181 and MH-34007), training grant GM07623, Veteran’s Administration Medical Center and the core facilities of the Murine Neurobehavioral Laboratory.


  • (-)DOB
  • 5-HT receptor
  • 5-HT receptor
  • Drug discrimination
  • LSD
  • Mice
  • Serotonin


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