Effects of ritanserin on ethanol withdrawal-induced anxiety in rats

Michael B. Gatch, Cleatus J. Wallis, Harbans Lal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


This study investigated the ability of ritanserin, a 5-HT2 antagonist, to modify ethanol withdrawal (EW) symptoms in two animal models of anxiety: the elevated plus-maze (EPM) and the pentylenetetrazol (PTZ) discrimination assay. Long-Evans hooded rats were given a nutritionally balanced liquid diet containing 4.5% ethanol for 10 days. Twelve hours after removal of the ethanol diet, rats were tested in the EPM. A significant reduction in the open-arm activity and the number of total arm entries was observed, which is indicative of EW. Acute ritanserin (0.16-0.64 mg/kg, i.p., 60 min) had no effect on EW-induced anxiety-like behavior on the EPM. Ritanserin (0.08-0.64 mg/kg, i.p., b.i.d. 12 h) administered concurrently with the last 5 days of ethanol diet produced an increase in the time spent on the open arms of the EPM and reversed the EW-induced reduction in total arm entries. Rats trained to discriminate between saline and PTZ (an anxiogenic drug), selected the PTZ lever during EW. Chronic ritanserin (0.32 mg/kg, i.p., b.i.d.) did not block PTZ lever responding during EW. On the rotorod, ritanserin (0.32 mg/kg, i.p.) increased the motor incoordination induced by ethanol. In conclusion, coadministration of ritanserin with ethanol prevented the development of EW-induced anxiety as measured by the EPM, but not in the PTZ drug discrimination. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Inc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-17
Number of pages7
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 2000


  • Anxiety
  • Drug discrimination
  • Elevated plus-maze
  • Ethanol withdrawal
  • GABA(A) receptor
  • Motor activity
  • Serotonin


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