Discriminative stimulus effects of ethanol: Lack of interaction with taurine

E. Quertemont, K. A. Grant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Recent microdialysis studies showed that ethanol administration increases the release of taurine in various rat brain regions, and it was suggested that this increase in extracellular concentrations of taurine might mediate some of the neurochemical effects of ethanol. Previous drug discrimination studies showed that positive modulators of the GABAA receptor consistently substituted for ethanol discriminative stimulus effects. Since taurine is also believed to modulate GABAA receptor activity, this study addressed the hypothesis that taurine mediates the discriminative stimulus effects of ethanol due to GABAA activation. Male Long-Evans rats were trained to discriminate water from either 1 or 2 g/kg ethanol. In a first experiment, various taurine doses (0-500 mg/kg) were tested to investigate whether taurine substitutes for ethanol. In a second experiment, rats were pretreated with either 500 mg/kg taurine or an equivalent volume of saline before testing for ethanol discrimination with various ethanol doses (0-2.0 g/kg). The results showed that taurine does not substitute for ethanol at any tested doses. In addition, taurine pretreatments failed to modify the dose-response curve for ethanol discrimination. These results demonstrate that taurine is not directly involved in mediating the discriminative stimulus effects of ethanol. It is therefore very unlikely that the brain release of taurine observed after ethanol administration is implicated in the major pharmacological effects of ethanol, i.e. positive modulation of GABAA receptor, that mediate its discriminative stimulus effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)495-501
Number of pages7
JournalBehavioural Pharmacology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Nov 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Drug discrimination
  • Ethanol
  • Rat
  • Taurine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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