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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Chronic tolerance to the locomotor stimulating effect of ethanol in preweanling rats as a function of social stress

During early stages of development rats are highly sensitive to the locomotor stimulating effect of relatively high ethanol doses, an effect strongly modulated by social stress. This ethanol effect can be modulated by pharmacological treatments that also can attenuate the development of ethanol-induced locomotor sensitization in mice. By the end of the preweanling period the mechanisms underlying sensitization induced by psychostimulants are functional.

The aim of the present study was to analyze the locomotor response to ethanol in preweanling rats as a function of repeated exposure to the drug under two different social conditions.

Subjects were treated with ethanol between postnatal days 15 and 18 after being isolated for four hours (Experiment 1a) or simply residing in their home-cage (Experiment 1b). After two days of withdrawal locomotor response to ethanol was assessed in both social conditions. In Experiment 2 naïve rats were tested in terms of ethanol-induced activation of th

Results from the present study showed no evidence of locomotor sensitization in preweanling rats in any of the social conditions. Instead we observed behavioral tolerance to the stimulating effect of ethanol in animals trained in the home-cage condition, in which subjects trained with ethanol showed sedation in response to ethanol at testing.

Overall these results contribute to the understanding of the sensitivity of rats to the acute and chronic locomotor response to ethanol in an ontogenetic period characterized by high sensitivity to ethanol.

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