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Alcohol. 1991 Nov-Dec;8(6):467-71.

Anxiogenic behavior in rats during acute and protracted ethanol withdrawal: reversal by buspirone.

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Department of Pharmacology, Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine, Ft. Worth 76107.


This study investigated the effectiveness of buspirone in reversing the anxiogenic behaviors occurring during ethanol withdrawal as measured in the elevated plus-maze. In response to anxiogenic drugs, rats spend less time in and make fewer entries onto the open arms of an elevated plus-maze, whereas anxiolytic drugs produce opposite effects. In this study, rats were fed a liquid diet containing 4.5% ethanol for 7 days. Twelve h (acute withdrawal) and 7 days (protracted withdrawal) following cessation of the ethanol diet, rats were tested on the elevated plus-maze. During these withdrawal periods, the percent open-arm entries and time spent on the open arms were significantly reduced relative to animals fed an ethanol-free diet, suggestive of anxiogenic-like symptoms. Buspirone (0.32-1.25 mg/kg) dose dependently reversed the withdrawal-induced decreases in open-arm activity. The anxiolytic-like activity of buspirone observed during ethanol withdrawal may be due to a reduction in serotonergic neurotransmission through activation of presynaptic 5-HT1A autoreceptors. The results obtained in this study suggest that pharmacotherapy with selective 5-HT1A agonists may be beneficial in alleviation of anxiety during ethanol withdrawal.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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