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Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 1989 Oct;34(2):375-80.

Temperature affects ethanol lethality in C57BL/6, 129, LS and SS mice.

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  • 1Alcohol and Brain Research Laboratory, School of Pharmacy, University of Southern California, Los Angeles 90033.


The effect of ambient and body temperature on ethanol lethality in inbred strains and selected lines of mice was investigated. C57BL/6J, 129/J, LS/Ibg and SS/Ibg mice were exposed to 23 or 34 degrees C following IP injection of lethal ethanol doses (8.2, 6.0, 6.5 or 7.0 g/kg ethanol, respectively). All mice exposed to 23 degrees C during intoxication became markedly hypothermic, with mean body temperatures dropping to lows of 27.9, 30.3, 33.0 and 33.3 degrees C in C57, LS, SS and 129 animals, respectively. Compared to the 23 degrees C groups, exposure to 34 degrees C offset the ethanol-induced hypothermia and significantly increased percent mortality in all four mouse genotypes. Exposure to 34 degrees C increased mortality at 24 hours postinjection from 15% to 95% in SS mice, from 37.5% to 100% in 129 mice and from 50% to 100% in LS and C57 mice. Blood ethanol data suggest that the present results cannot be explained by temperature-related changes in ethanol elimination. These results provide further evidence that body temperature during intoxication can have major effects on mortality rates in mice.

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