In this study, the acute effects of 3-nitropropionic acid was investigated on open
field and startle behavior of rats, and on their cortical electrical activity. Spontaneous
locomotor activity, acoustic startle response, and pre-pulse inhibition of acoustic
startle were measured in male Wistar rats (10 weeks old, 180-200g body weight) after
a single dose of 10 or 20 mg/kg i.p. 3-nitropropionic acid. After the behavioral tests,
the rats were anaesthetized, and spontaneous cortical electrical activity was recorded.
The vertical, horizontal and local open field performance showed dose-dependent deterioration
in the rats treated with 3-nitropropionic acid. The number of “noise-positive” startle
responses showed non-significant changes, but the inhibition by pre-pulse was significantly
reduced in the high dose animals. High dose also increased the proportion of low-frequencies
in the cortical activity. Three-nitropropionic acid, known primarily to act in repeated
doses (e.g., in animal models of Huntington’s disease) had also some clear-cut acute
effects on behavioral and electrophysiological parameters of the treated rats.