2012 Volume 49 Issue 1 Pages 51-56
The present study was undertaken to examine the acute toxicity (LD50) and neurobehavioral manifestations in the open-field activity and tonic immobility tests in 7-14 day-old chicks treated with the H1-receptor antagonist diphenhydramine. Plasma and whole brain cholinesterase activities were also determined in the chicks. The LD50 of diphenhydramine in chicks was 49.3mg/kg, intramuscularly (i.m.). The signs of diphenhydramine toxicosis in the chicks which appeared within one hour after injection included excitation, jumping, whole body tremor, ataxia, gasping, frequent defecation, paralysis and recumbency. Fifteen minutes after i.m. injection, diphenhydramine at 2.5 and 5 mg/kg decreased the general locomotor activity of the chicks in the 5-min open-field activity test, as seen by a significant increase in the latency to move from the center of the open-field arena and decreases in the numbers of lines crossed and escape jumps in comparison with control values. Diphenhydramine significantly decreased the frequencies of pecking and defecation only at 5mg/kg when compared with respective control values. Diphenhydramine treatments at 2.5and 5mg/kg also significantly increased the durations of tonic immobility of the chicks and decreased their whole brain cholinesterase activity by 33 and 30%, respectively, in comparison with the control values. In conclusion, the data suggest that diphenhydramine induces central nervous system depression in chicks at doses below the LD50 value of the drug which is reported here for the first time.