The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 56: 193 - 196 (2012)

Vol 56, Issue 1-2-3

Special Issue: The Planaria Model System

Planarians in pharmacology: parthenolide is a specific behavioral antagonist of cocaine in the planarian Girardia tigrina

Published: 9 March 2012

Oné R. Pagán*,1, Debra Baker1, Sean Deats2, Erica Montgomery1, Matthew Tenaglia1, Clinita Randolph1, Dharini Kotturu1, Christopher Tallarida3, Daniel Bach1, Galia Wilk1, Scott Rawls4 and Robert B. Raffa3

1Department of Biology, West Chester University, West Chester, 2Department of Psychology, West Chester University, West Chester, 3Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Temple University School of Pharmacy, Philadelphia and 4Department of Pharmacology, Temple University School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, USA


Planarians are traditional animal models in developmental and regeneration biology. Recently, these organisms are arising as vertebrate-relevant animal models in neuropharmacology. Using an adaptation of published behavioral protocols, we have described the alleviation of cocaine-induced planarian seizure-like movements (pSLM) by a naturally-occurring sesquiterpene lactone, parthenolide. Interestingly, parthenolide does not prevent the expression of pSLM induced by amphetamines; in vertebrates, amphetamines interact with the same protein target as cocaine. Parthenolide is also unable to prevent pSLM elicited by the cholinergic com-pounds nicotine and cytisine or by the glutamatergic agents L- or D- glutamic acid or NMDA. Thus, we conclude that parthenolide is a specific anti-cocaine agent in this experimental organism.


planaria, parthenolide, cocaine, amphetamine, seizures, behavior

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