Ethanol in low doses augments calcium-mediated mechanisms measured intracellularly in hippocampal neurons

Science  15 Jan 1982:
Vol. 215, Issue 4530, pp. 306-309
DOI: 10.1126/science.7053581


The electrophysiological effects of ethanol in low doses (5 to 20 millimoles per liter or 23 to 92 milligrams per 100 milliliters) were examined intracellularly in CA1 cells of rat hippocampus in vitro. Inhibitory and excitatory postsynaptic potentials were increased when ethanol was applied to the respective synaptic terminal regions. Postsynaptically, ethanol caused a moderate hyperpolarization with increased membrane conductance, even when synaptic transmission was blocked. Ethanol augmented the hyperpolarization that followed repetitive firing or that followed the eliciting of calcium spikes in the presence of tetrodotoxin, but not the rapid afterhyperpolarization in calcium-free medium. Ethanol appears to augment calcium-mediated mechanisms both pre- and postsynaptically.