The cardiovascular effects of acute ethanol administration were studied in rats selectively bred for high (HAS) or low sensitivity (US) to the acute hypnotic effect of ethanol. In chronically cannulated, conscious animals, the intravenous administration of 1 g/kg of ethanol caused moderate hypotension and tachycardia in both HAS and LAS rats. The phenylephrine-induced reflex bradycardia and the baroreflex slope were significantly reduced by ethanol only in HAS and not in LAS rats. In urethane-anesthetized HAS rats, the baroreflex inhibitory action of ethanol was present under control conditions, but it was absent after depletion of endogenous GABA by treatment of the rats with 100 mg/kg of 3-mercaptopropionate. These findings confirm the role of endogenous GABA in the baroreflex inhibitory action of ethanol, and are compatible with the documented differential sensitivity of the GABA, receptor complex to ethanol in HAS and LAS rats.