A selective, non-peptide CRF receptor 1 antagonist prevents sodium lactate-induced acute panic-like responses

Anantha Shekhar, Philip L. Johnson, Stephanie D. Fitz, Atsuro Nakazato, Shigeyuki Chaki, Thomas Steckler, Mark Schmidt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Scopus citations


Corticotropin releasing factor (CRF) is implicated in a variety of stress-related disorders such as depression and anxiety, and blocking CRF receptors is a putative strategy for treating such disorders. Using a well-studied animal model of panic, we tested the efficacy of JNJ19567470/CRA5626, a selective, non-peptidergic CRF type 1 receptor (CRF1) antagonist (3, 10 and 40 mg/kg intraperitoneal injection), in preventing the sodium lactate (NaLac)-induced panic-like behavioural and cardiovascular responses. Adult male rats with chronic reduction of GABA levels (by inhibition of GABA synthesis with l-allyglycine, a glutamic acid decarboxylase inhibitor) in the dorsomedial/perifornical hypothalamus are highly anxious and exhibit physiological and behavioural responses to intravenous NaLac infusions similar to patients with panic disorder. These 'panic-prone' rats pre-treated with vehicle injections displayed NaLac-induced increases in autonomic responses (i.e. tachycardia and hypertensive responses), anxiety-like behaviour in the social interaction test, and flight-like increases in locomotor activity. However, systemically injecting such panic-prone rats with the highest dose of CRF1 receptor antagonist prior to NaLac infusions blocked all NaLac-induced behaviour and cardiovascular responses. These data suggest that selective CRF1 receptor antagonists could be a novel target for developing anti-panic drugs that are as effective as benzodiazepines in acute treatment of a panic attack without the deleterious side-effects (e.g. sedation and cognitive impairment) associated with benzodiazepines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)355-365
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2011


  • Anxiety
  • CRF
  • CRH
  • hypothalamus
  • lactate
  • panic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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