Role of acetaldehyde in the discriminative stimulus effects of ethanol.Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2002 Jun; 26(6):812-7.AC
Acetaldehyde has been suggested to mediate some of the effects of ethanol. Acetaldehyde can be produced by the enzyme catalase within the brain after ethanol administration. The catalase inhibitor 3-amino-1,2,4-triazole (AT) reduces the production of acetaldehyde, and AT administration can reduce a number of ethanol-induced behavioral effects; this suggests the involvement of acetaldehyde in these behaviors. However, a role for acetaldehyde in mediating the discriminative stimulus effects of ethanol remains unclear.
The contribution of acetaldehyde to the discriminative stimulus effects of ethanol was investigated by use of a two-lever drug discrimination paradigm with food reinforcement. Male Long-Evans rats were trained to discriminate water from either 1.0 or 2.0 g/kg ethanol. Stimulus substitution tests were conducted with ethanol (0-2.5 g/kg by gavage) and acetaldehyde (0-300 mg/kg intraperitoneally). A cumulative dose-response procedure was then used to investigate the effects of pretreatments with AT (0.5 and 1.0 g/kg intraperitoneally) on ethanol discrimination.
Acetaldehyde up to doses that decreased response rates (300 mg/kg) did not substitute for the discriminative stimulus effects of 1.0 or 2.0 g/kg ethanol. In addition, AT pretreatment did not affect the dose-response curves for ethanol discrimination.
These results show that exogenous acetaldehyde administration does not produce discriminative stimulus effects that are similar to those of ethanol. Also, pretreatment with the catalase inhibitor did not affect the dose-response curve for ethanol discrimination, and this suggests that endogenously produced acetaldehyde does not contribute to the discriminative stimulus effects of ethanol. Together these results suggest that acetaldehyde does not mediate the discriminative stimulus effects of 1.0 to 2.0 g/kg ethanol.