Correlation of Purkinje neuron depression and hypnotic effects of ethanol in inbred strains of rats

Steven Johnson, B. J. Hoffer, R. Baker, R. Freedman

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The effect of locally applied ethanol on spontaneous discharge rates of cerebellar Purkinje neurons was compared in two inbred strains of rats which differ in their sensitivites to the acute hypnotic effects of this agent. Ethanol, applied locally to neurons by micropressure ejection with multibarrel micropipettes, was significantly more potent for reducing neuronal firing rates in Fischer 344 rats when compared to Brown Norway rats. The hypnotic effect of ethanol, measured by loss of righting reflex, lasted significantly longer in the Fischer 344 strain of rats. These results suggest that susceptibility to a behavioral effect of ethanol might correlate with an effect on firing rates of cerebellar Purkinje cells in rats. In mice, selective breeding has produced 'long-sleep' and 'short-sleep' strains of mice which differ not only in sensitivity to the hypnotic effect of ethanol, but also to the sensitivity of cerebellar Purkinje cells to depressant effects of this drug. Because electrophysiological investigations are in many ways easier to perform in rats than in mice, genetic differences in rats may provide an important means for analyzing central nervous system actions of acute ethanol administration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)56-58
Number of pages3
JournalAlcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1985
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Toxicology

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