Sex differences in the discriminative stimulus effects of m- chlorophenylpiperazine and ethanol withdrawal

Marianna E. Jung, Cleatus J. Wallis, Michael B. Gatch, Harbans Lal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Rationale: The serotonergic system plays a role in regulation of anxiety and ethanol withdrawal (EW). Nevertheless, few studies have assessed sex differences in serotonergic effects on EW. Objectives: This study examined sex differences in the anxiogenic stimuli induced by a serotonin (5-HT)(1b/2) agonist, meta-chlorophenylpiperazine (mCPP), prior to ethanol and during EW. Methods: Gonadectomized or sham-operated adult male and female rats and 17β- estradiol (2.5 mg, 21-day release, s.c.) -replaced ovariectomized (OVX) rats were trained to discriminate mCPP (1.2 mg/kg, i.p.) from saline in a two- lever choice task for food. Latency to the first lever press and mCPP lever selection were measured following mCPP (0-1.2 mg/kg). Rats then received chronic ethanol-containing liquid diet (6.5%) for 10 days and were tested for mCPP lever selection 12 h and 36 h after removal of ethanol. Results: Fewer sham female and β-estradiol-replaced OVX rats selected the mCPP lever than male or OVX rats, and showed an increased initiation latency after mCPP injection. During EW (12 h and 36 h), fewer sham female and β-estradiol- replaced OVX rats responded on the mCPP-lever after saline injection as well as after mCPP challenge than male or OVX rats. Castration did not alter any response of male rats to mCPP. Conclusions: (1) mCPP discrimination is a useful measure of EW in male and female rats; and (2) sham female and β- estradiol-replaced OVX rats are less sensitive to the discriminative stimulus prior to and during EW, but more sensitive to impaired behavioral initiation induced by mCPP than male or OVX rats.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)170-175
Number of pages6
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2000


  • 17β-estradiol
  • Anxiety
  • Drug discrimination
  • Ethanol withdrawal
  • Rat
  • Sex difference
  • m-Chlorophenylpiperazine


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