Gamma-hydroxybutyric acid in male and female cynomolgus monkeys trained to discriminate 1.0 or 2.0 g/kg ethanol

Christa M. Helms, Laura S.M. Rogers, Kathleen A. Grant

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    4 Scopus citations


    Gamma-hydroxybutyric acid has been proposed as a pharmacotherapy for alcoholism in part based on similar discriminative stimulus effects as ethanol. To date, drug discrimination studies with γ-hydroxybutyric acid and ethanol have exclusively used rodents or pigeons as subjects. To evaluate possible differences between species, sex, and route of administration, this study investigated the substitution of γ-hydroxybutyric acid (intragastrically or intramuscularly) for ethanol 30 or 60 min after administration in male (n=6) and female (n=7) cynomolgus monkeys trained to discriminate 1.0 and 2.0 g/kg ethanol. At least one dose of γ- hydroxybutyric acid completely or partially substituted for ethanol in three of the 13 monkeys tested, with each case occurring in female monkeys. Ethanol-appropriate responding did not increase with γ-hydroxybutyric acid dose. Monkeys were more sensitive to the response rate decreasing effects of γ-hydroxybutyric acid administered intramuscularly compared with intragastrically. The lack of γ-hydroxybutyric acid substitution for ethanol suggests that these drugs have different receptor bases for discrimination. Furthermore, the data do not strongly support shared discriminative stimulus effects as the rationale for γ-hydroxybutyric acid pharmacotherapy for alcoholism.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)317-324
    Number of pages8
    JournalBehavioural Pharmacology
    Issue number4
    StatePublished - Jul 1 2008



    • Discriminative stimulus effects
    • Drug discrimination
    • Ethanol
    • Gamma-hydroxybutyric acid
    • Monkey

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Pharmacology
    • Psychiatry and Mental health

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