Alcohol Withdrawal in Rats Is Associated with a Marked Fall in Extraneuronal Dopamine


  • This work was supported by MURST, 60%-1990.

Reprint requests: Dr. Zvani L. Rossetti, Department of Neuroscience, University of Cagliari, Via Porcell 4, 09124 Cagliari, Italy.


Withdrawal of rats from chronic ethanol (2–5 g/kg, every 6 hr for 6 days) resulted in withdrawal symptomatology and dramatic fall in extracellular dopamine (DA) in the ventral striatum as measured by microdialysis. The changes in DA output paralleled the withdrawal symptomatology and both phenomena were reversed by a challenge ethanol dose (5 g/kg orally). The results suggest that the decrease in DA output may be responsible for the aversive symptoms of withdrawal.