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Open Access

Endogenous dynorphin in emotional control and stress response revisited

  • Christoph Schwarzer1Email author,
  • Christian Lutsch1,
  • Eduard Schunk1,
  • Iris Kastenberger1 and
  • Herbert Herzog2
BMC Pharmacology201010(Suppl 1):A32

Published: 16 November 2010


Corticosterone LevelField CenterMaze TestEmotional ControlCorticosterone Serum


We recently demonstrated a clearly anxiolytic phenotype of prodynorphin-deficient (dynKO) mice on the C57bl/6N background. However, other groups observed a less prominent and partially paradigm-dependent anxiogenic phenotype or even anxiogenic phenotype of other dynKO mice. Therefore we backcrossed our dynKO mice onto the balb/c background and evaluated their anxiety-related behaviour.


In this study, we investigated anxiety and stress-related behaviour of germ-line prodynorphin knockout (dynKO) mice. Behavioural data were complemented by measurement of corticosterone serum levels.


Male dynKO mice exhibited about 2-fold ambulation in the open field center and intermediate areas. DynKO mice showed also longer distance travelled (2-fold) and more time spent on open arms of the elevated plus maze test. Significantly higher numbers of mice entering the open lit area in the light-dark test were observed in dynKO as compared to wild-type mice. As observed on the C57bl/6N background, only minor changes were observed in the stress-coping abilities measured in the tail suspension and forced swim tests. A reduction of basal corticosterone levels was observed in dyn-KO mice.


Taken together our data support the anxiogenic effects of endogenous dynorphin as observed on the C57bl/6N background. However, the phenotype is less clear on the balb/c background.



This project was supported by the Austrian Science Fund (P20107).

Authors’ Affiliations

Institute of Pharmacology, Innsbruck Medical University, Innsbruck, Austria
Neuroscience Research Program, Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Darlinghurst, Australia


© Schwarzer et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2010

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd.