Attenuation by nimodipine of amitriptyline-induced avoidance impairment in mice

Mario Sansone, Mario Battaglia, Flaminia Pavone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The effects of the dihydropyridine calcium channel blocker nimodipine on avoidance impairment induced by the tricyclic antidepressant amitriptyline were assessed during shuttle-box training and in previously trained mice of the DBA/2 strain. Nimodipine (0, 0.5, 1, 2.5, or 5 mg/kg) had no effect alone, but attenuated the avoidance impairment induced by 5 mg/kg amitriptyline on avoidance acquisition, as well as on a previously learned avoidance response. The avoidance improving action of the calcium channel blocker was less evident in mice receiving a larger dose (7.5 mg/kg) of the antidepressant drug. The effect of nimodipine did not appear to be specifically related to the avoidance impairment induced by amitriptyline, because the calcium antagonist also attenuated the avoidance impairing action of the neuroleptic chlorpromazine. The avoidance impairment induced by amitriptyline and chlorpromazine, and the related ameliorating action of nimodipine, seem imputable to drug effects on the performance of the avoidance response, rather than to interferences with learning processes. The results suggest that, in the case of concomitant administration, nimodipine could alleviate adverse side effects of tricyclic antidepressant, i.e., psychomotor disturbances. Copyright (C) 1999 Elsevier Science Inc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)613-618
Number of pages6
JournalPharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1999


  • Amitriptyline
  • Antidepressants
  • Avoidance behavior
  • Mice
  • Nimodipine
  • Psychomotor disturbances

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Pharmacology


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