Three different domains of behavioral action of ethanol (ETOH) were examined in a battery of seven inbred strains and in the selectively bred Long-Sleep (LS) and Short-Sleep (SS) mice. Sedative effects were examined with the loss of the righting reflex test at 3.8 g/kg. The variation among inbred strains was only half the size of the difference between LS and SS mice which were selectively bred for extremes in this phenotype; such a result is expected for phenotypes controlled polygenically. Blood ETOH levels at waking from the narcosis also showed a range of differences among the inbred strains that was less than the LS/SS difference. Ataxia was measured with the grid test, and the inbred strains fell into two groups, resembling the highly ataxic LS line, and the less ataxic SS line. Biphasic effects of ETOH on locomotor activity were strongly genotype dependent. Variation in degree of activation/disinhibition produced by doses up to 1.5 g/kg (IP) ranged from no activation, in the C57BL/6Abg strain, to a stimulation effect in the MOLD/RkAbg strain which was larger than that seen for SS mice. The patterns of strain differences for both ataxia and activation were highly different from the duration of loss of righting reflex measure, suggesting multiple independent genetically based "sensitivities" to ETOH.
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