Neural processes influenced by γ-aminobutyric acid B (GABAB) receptors appear to contribute to acute ethanol sensitivity, including the difference between lines of mice bred for extreme sensitivity (FAST) or insensitivity (SLOW) to the locomotor stimulant effect of ethanol. One goal of the current study was to determine whether selection of the FAST and SLOW lines resulted in changes in GABAB receptor function, since the lines differ in sensitivity to the GABAB receptor agonist baclofen and baclofen attenuates the stimulant response to ethanol in FAST mice. A second goal was to determine whether the baclofen-induced reduction in ethanol stimulation in FAST mice is associated with an attenuation of the mesolimbic dopamine response to ethanol. In Experiment 1, the FAST and SLOW lines were found to not differ in GABAB receptor function (measured by baclofen-stimulated [35S]GTPγS binding) in whole brain or in several regional preparations, except in the striatum in one of the two replicate sets of selected lines. In Experiment 2, baclofen-induced attenuation of the locomotor stimulant response to ethanol in FAST mice was not accompanied by a reduction in dopamine levels in the nucleus accumbens, as measured by microdialysis. These data suggest that, overall, GABAB receptor function does not play an integral role in the genetic difference in ethanol sensitivity between the FAST and SLOW lines. Further, although GABAB receptors do modulate the locomotor stimulant response to ethanol in FAST mice, this effect does not appear to be due to a reduction in tonic dopamine signaling in the nucleus accumbens.HIGHLIGHTS
▸ The GABAB receptor agonist baclofen attenuates the stimulant response to ethanol.HIGHLIGHTS
▸ GABAB receptor function is linked with ethanol sensitivity only in the striatum.HIGHLIGHTS
▸ Baclofen does not reduce the dopamine response to ethanol in the nucleus accumbens.