Two lines of mice, selectively bred for differential sensitivity to the soporific effects of ethanol (ETOH), were administered GABAergic drugs in an effort to evaluate a role for GABA in ETOH sensitivity. ETOH sensitive Long-Sleep mice (LS) showed potentiated ETOH sedation when administered bicuculline, muscimol and aminooxyacetic acid (AOAA). ETOH-insensitive SS mice exhibited reduced ETOH sedation in the presence of the antagonists, bicuculline and picrotoxin, and potentiated sedation in the presence of muscimol and AOAA. These changes in narcosis duration were interpreted as central effects, since blood ethanol levels at waking from ETOH sedation varied with GABAergic drug treatment. Picrotoxin antagonized pentobarbital-induced nacrosis in both lines, but to a greater extent in SS mice. These and other experiments with a genetically heterogeneous stock suggest GABA involvement in genotype-dependent ETOH sensitivity, but do not support a simple role of GABA receptor involvement.
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