, Volume 72, Issue 2, pp 205–209 | Cite as

Biochemical and behavioral effects of acute ethanol in rats at different environmental temperatures

  • Larissa A. Pohorecky
  • America E. Rizek
Original Investigations


The role of ethanol-induced hypothermia on some selected biochemical and behavioral parameters was evaluated. Rats were kept from 1 h before to 1 h after injection (saline or ethanol 2 g/kg, 20% solution IP) in an environment chamber at either 22°C or 35°C, and then tested behaviorally or sacrificed. Exposure of rats to a warm environment (35°C) prevented the ethanol-induced hypothermia found in rats kept at 22°C. Ethanol-treated rats kept at 35°C had an attenuated increase in levels of free fatty acids and of corticosterone in plasma, suggesting that part of the ethanol-induced response may result from hypothermia rather than from ethanol itself. In addition, tyrosine levels were unexpectedly increased by 18% in intoxicated animals kept at 35°C. By contrast, gross motor activity tested 1 h after injection was depressed more in animals kept at 35°C than in those kept at 22°C, and swim performance was impaired more at 5–20 min after treatment in animals not showing hypothermia. The greater behavioral impairment was not due to any debilitating effects of the warm environment since the saline control animals showed comparable activity to that of rats kept at 22°C. We conclude that ethanol-induced hypothermia may influence and interact with other actions of ethanol.

Key words

Ethanol Behavior Corticosterone NEFA Tyrosine Hypothermia 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Larissa A. Pohorecky
    • 1
    • 2
  • America E. Rizek
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Center of Alcohol StudiesRutgers UniversityNew BrunswickUSA
  2. 2.Department of PharmacologyUniversidad Central de VenezuelaCaracasVenezuela

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