Paradoxical effects of serotonin and opioids in pemoline-induced self-injurious behavior

Cortney Turner, Jaak Panksepp*, Marni Bekkedal, Charles Borkowski, Jeffrey Burgdorf

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Self-injurious behavior (SIB) is a symptom of various psychiatric disorders with differing etiologies. Although no generally effective pharmacological treatment of SIB is available, subsets of individuals exhibiting SIB have been found to respond to opioid antagonists and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). The present study evaluated the efficacy of these two treatments in the pemoline-induced model of self-biting behavior (SBB) in rats. Using a factorial design, adult rats receiving daily pemoline at 100 mg/kg or the peanut oil vehicle were pretreated with either distilled water vehicle (1 cc/kg), naltrexone (1 mg/kg), or paroxetine (1 mg/kg). Each day, animals were rated on the severity of SBB and also periodically behavioral changes were evaluated using various other outcome measures. Paroxetine significantly increased the severity of SBB induced by pemoline, while naltrexone only marginally increased the SBB. These results were not expected and suggest that further studies into the role of serotonin agonists and antagonists are needed in evaluating this model. Copyright (C) 1999 Elsevier Science Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)361-366
Number of pages6
JournalPharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 1999


  • Activity
  • Naltrexone
  • Paroxetine
  • Pemoline
  • Rats
  • Self-injurious behavior
  • Startle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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