Genetic Determinants of Sensitivity to Ethanol in Inbred Mice

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Mice from 15 inbred strains differed in sensitivity to ethanol-induced effects on open-field activity, hypothermia, rotarod ataxia, and anesthesia. Sensitivities to the different behavioral responses were generally uncorrelated. This suggests that the genetic determinants of behavioral sensitivity to one domain of ethanol effects are unrelated to those determining other responses. On the other hand, some variables were genetically related. For example, those strains sensitive to the loss of righting reflex induced by higher doses of ethanol showed reduced activity in the open field at lower doses and were more sensitive to ethanol-induced decreases in rearing. More generally, the pattern of results suggests that genetically influenced sensitivity to ethanol is not a monolithic phenomenon. Rather, it is specific to the particular response variable studied.

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