• Article

The effects of abused inhalants on mouse behavior in an elevated plus-maze

Previous research has shown that abused inhalants (i.e., the volatile solvents) share some of the pharmacological properties of drugs used in the treatment of anxiety. In an attempt to further examine commonalities in the effects of inhalants and central nervous system depressant drugs, the behavioral effects of inhaled 1,1,1-trichloroethane, toluene, methoxyflurane and the convulsant vapor flurothyl were examined and compared to those of diazepam in the elevated plus-maze, a test used to predict antianxiety effects. After inhalant exposure arm (open versus closed) were measured during 5-min tests. Exposure to increasing concentrations of toluene produced concentration-related increases in the total number of open arm entries and the total time spent on the open arms, a pattern of behavioral effects similar to that produced by diazepam. A similar pattern was observed for increasing concentrations of 1,1,1-trichloroethane and methoxyflurane but changes in open arm activity were only observed at concentrations that increased locomotor activity. Conversely, only decreases in open arm time and number of entries were observed for flurothyl. The increasing evidence for commonalities in the behavioral effects of volatile solvents and depressant drugs may provide a foundation for understanding the neurobehavioral basis of inhalant abuse


Bowen, SE., Wiley, J., & Balster, RL. (1996). The effects of abused inhalants on mouse behavior in an elevated plus-maze. European Journal of Pharmacology, 312(2), 131-136.