Characterization of the discriminative stimulus effects of GABAA receptor ligands in Macaca fascicularis monkeys under different ethanol training conditions
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Rationale: The current study was designed to extend our knowledge of the GABAA receptor system in mediating discriminative stimulus effects of ethanol in non-human primates. Objectives: To characterize the discriminative stimulus effects of ethanol, pentobarbital, midazolam, muscimol and morphine in male and female monkeys under different ethanol training conditions. Methods: Adult male (n=8) and female (n=10) Macaca fascicularis monkeys were divided into four groups and trained to discriminate 1.0 g/kg ethanol (n=8) versus water or 2.0 g/kg ethanol (n=10) versus water in a 2×2 design with training dose and sex as main group factors. Solutions were administered intragastrically (20% ethanol w/v) and responding was maintained under a fixed-ratio schedule of food reinforcement. Dose-response determinations of ethanol, pentobarbital, midazolam, muscimol and morphine were made under the training condition of 30 min pretreatment interval. The ethanol pretreatment interval in training sessions was then increased to 60 min and the effects of ethanol, pentobarbital and midazolam were redetermined. Results: Training dose influenced the ED50 of ethanol to produce substitution under both pretreatment intervals and pentobarbital to produce substitution under the 30-min pretreatment training interval. There were no group differences in sensitivity to midazolam. The potency of the ligands to produce ethanol substitution was consistent across groups with midazolam>pentobarbital>ethanol. There were no sex differences in substitution of the ligands for ethanol. Blood ethanol concentrations at the onset of ethanol training sessions were higher in the 2.0 g/kg groups and under longer pretreatment times, but were not different on the basis of sex. Conclusions: Pentobarbital and midazolam produce ethanol-like discriminative stimulus effects in male and female cynomolgus monkeys suggesting a significant GABAA component mediating the behavioral effects of ethanol. There was limited evidence that training dose of ethanol influenced substitution pattern of the GABAA ligands in cynomolgus monkeys, unlike previous findings in rats. Finally, there appear to be no sex differences in the profile of GABAA mechanisms involved in the discriminative stimulus effects of ethanol.
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