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Psychostimulants and G Tolerance in Rhesus Monkeys: Effects of Oral Modafinil and Injected Caffeine

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Florence G, Riondet L, Serra A, Etienne X, Huart B, Van Beers P, Bonneau D, Gomez-Merino D, Drogou C, Pradeau P. Psychostimulants and G tolerance in rhesus monkeys: effects of oral modafinil and injected caffeine. Aviat Space Environ Med 2005; 76:121–126.

Introduction: Caffeine and modafinil are psychostimulants that may be taken by fighter aircraft pilots to reduce fatigue. Fighter pilots are subjected to high positive G loads that reduce cerebral blood flow and consequently may induce G-LOC. The aim of the experiment was to determine whether these drugs may reduce tolerance to G stress. Methods: Seven adult male rhesus monkeys participated in the experiment. Five were equipped with ECoG and ECG wires and underwent two G tests (A and B). Each experiment consisted of five centrifuge runs. Before the runs, the monkeys received no drug (control) or were given either 7.5 mg · kg−1 caffeine IM or 64 mg · kg−1 modafinil PO or the corresponding vehicles. The runs were performed up to +13 Gz with an onset rate of 0.1 G · s−1 (test A) or 3 G · s−1 (test B). The run was ended when the electrical activity of one ECoG channel had disappeared (i.e., G-LOC). Results: In experiment A, drug administration had no significant effect. In experiment B, the injection of the caffeine-free solvent caused a delay in G-LOC compared with the control condition (no administration). Caffeine solvent also induced an increase in plasma osmolality. Discussion: Modafinil administration has no significant effect on the G tolerance of rhesus monkeys. Regarding caffeine, the drug seems to have caused the reverse effect compared with the solvent. Conclusions: Caffeine and modafinil administration had no significant effect on the G-tolerance of rhesus monkeys when compared with controls. This result needs to be confirmed in humans.
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Keywords: EEG; acceleration; endpoint; primate; psychostimulant

Document Type: Short Communication

Publication date: February 1, 2005

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