, Volume 176, Issue 2, pp 167–175

Effects of ethanol and GABAB drugs on working memory in C57BL/6J and DBA/2J mice

Original Investigation

DOI: 10.1007/s00213-004-1875-x

Cite this article as:
Escher, T. & Mittleman, G. Psychopharmacology (2004) 176: 167. doi:10.1007/s00213-004-1875-x



It has been suggested that GABAB receptors may be part of a neural substrate mediating some of the effects of ethanol.


The purpose of this experiment was to investigate, in mice, the effects of ethanol on working memory in a delayed matching-to position (DMTP) task, and additionally to determine if these effects were modulated by GABAB receptors.


Female C57BL/6J and DBA/2J mice were trained in the DMTP task, and after asymptotic levels of performance accuracy were achieved, injections (IP) of ethanol, baclofen, or phaclofen were administered. Baclofen or phaclofen were then co-administered with ethanol. Each test was repeated twice.


Ethanol caused deficits in working memory at 2.0 g/kg and higher. The highest dose (2.5 g/kg) produced additional non-specific effects, indicative of sedation. Baclofen increased performance accuracy (2.5 mg/kg), while decreasing the total number of trials completed. When combined with ethanol (1.5 g/kg), baclofen increased memory deficits at the highest dose (7.5 mg/kg). Phaclofen increased performance accuracy at 10 and 30 mg/kg but had no effect on the total number of trials completed. When combined with ethanol (2.5 g/kg), phaclofen did not significantly alter ethanol-induced deficits in performance.


Analyses of performance accuracy, total trials completed and variables indexing bias and motor impairment indicated that GABAB drugs modulate working memory in a behaviorally specific manner. Overall, these receptors may be part of a neural substrate that modulates some of the effects of ethanol.


GABAB Ethanol Alcohol DMTP Working memory Mice 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of MemphisMemphisUSA