Pharmacologic analysis of the postictal immobility syndrome in the rat

Michael S. Myslobodsky, Matti Mintz, Ora Kofman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Postictal immobility (PI) following chemically (picrotoxin, metrazol) and electrically-induced (maximal electroshock, MES) convulsions has behavioral features close to neuroleptic-type catalepsy. EEG, monitored postictally, showed that catalepsy is accompanied by a variety of EEG patterns. Cataleptic behavior extended beyond the period of "postictal EEG depression". During PI rats had vivid righting and corneal reflexes. Like haloperidol-pretreated rats they were able to maintain uncomfortable postures on the vertical grid or horizontal bar; although signs of rigidity were noticed, the rats would fail to remain self-supporting when placed across metal bookends ("bridge" test). All rats reacted to the tail-pinch immediately when the seizure would halt. However, 10-15 min later when PI was minimal or not detectable, animals became totally unresponsive to pressure applied to the tail ("delayed analgesia"). Examination of VEP recovery after MES showed that the secondary slow negativity and sensory afterdischarge were well developed irrespective of the score of the tail-pinch test. Pharmacological profile of PI suggests that the endogenous opiate system might contribute to this syndrome. Similar to morphine-induced catalepsy/catatonia: (1) PI is insensitive to atropine and scopolamine; (2) neither haloperidol nor alpha-methyl-p-tyrosine was able to potentiate it; (3) PI is reduced by apomorphine, naloxone, and physostigmine. Also, drugs acting via GABA system (γ-vinyl GABA, diazepam, sodium valproate) reduce PI intensity. It is hypothesized that PI system (1) is controlled by GABA carrying fibers and (2) uses neuropeptide with neuroleptic properties.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-100
Number of pages8
JournalPharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1981
Externally publishedYes


  • Analgesia
  • Catatonia/catalepsy
  • Chemically-induced convulsions
  • EEG depression
  • Maximal electroshock
  • Postictal behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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