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Alcohol. 1999 Nov;19(3):207-11.

Effects of NMDA antagonists on ethanol-withdrawal induced "anxiety" in the elevated plus maze.

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Department of Pharmacology, University of North Texas Health Science Center, Fort Worth.


The anxiolytic effects of NMDA antagonists during ethanol withdrawal were assessed in Long-Evans rats. Anxiety was measured by the elevated plus maze. Male rats were exposed to ethanol (6.5%) in a liquid diet for 10 days. Behavioral testing took place 12 h after withdrawal of ethanol. The competitive NMDA antagonists, AP-7 (0.02-0.32 mg/kg) and CGP-37849 (0.64-10 mg/kg), at least partially reversed the anxiety-like effects induced by withdrawal from ethanol. Both drugs produced a small increase in total arm entries, and a much larger increase in the percentage of open arm entries. AP-7, but not CGP-37849, also increased the percentage of open arm time. In contrast, the NMDA channel blocker, dizocilpine (MK-801; 0.08-0.32 mg/kg), produced only a small increase in the percentage of open arm entries and of open arm time. HA-966, a glycine-site antagonist, also failed to produce changes in ethanol withdrawal induced changes in anxiety at the doses tested. These results suggest that competitive NMDA antagonists may be useful for reduction of signs of anxiety during ethanol withdrawal.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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