Prevention of the convulsant and hyperalgesic action of strychine by intrathecal glycine and related amino acids

Carlos Beyer, Cynthia Banas, Porfirio Gomora, Barry R. Komisaruk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Intrathecal administration of 25 μg strychnine induced consistent sensory and motor behavioral events in rats. Sensory events included scratching and biting the lower half of the body, spontaneous vocalizations and skin hyperalgesia, evidenced by vocalization and reflex scratching in response to stimulation with a 5.5 g von Frev fiber. This mild stimulus failed to elicit vocalizations in the preinjection condition. Strychnine induced two types of motor seizures: (1) falling over with tail whipping and (2) convulsions. The effect of equimolar doses of glycine (G) and some related amino acids: β-alanine (A), taurine (T) and betaine (B) on the strychnine syndrome was tested by administering them (intrathecal route) along with strychnine. T and G but not B significantly decreased most of the sensory events triggered by strychnine. All amino acids significantly decreased the incidence and duration of convulsions; T and B abolished them. A decreased vocalizations and skin hyperalgesia but synergized with strychnine to facilitate scratching and self biting. These results are consistent with findings that G, A and T displace strychnine from its binding sites in the CNS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-78
Number of pages6
JournalPharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1988

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


  • Betaine
  • Convulsions Antagonism of strychnine by inhibitory amino acids
  • Glycine
  • Glycine inhibition of strychnine action
  • Scratching
  • Self-biting
  • Sensorimotor action of strychnine Inhibitory amino acids
  • Skin hyperalgesia
  • Strychnine syndrome
  • Taurine
  • β-Alanine

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