Decreased neuronal inhibition in vitro after long-term administration of ethanol

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Science  22 Jun 1984:
Vol. 224, Issue 4655, pp. 1359-1361
DOI: 10.1126/science.6328654


The pathophysiology of brain dysfunction was studied with an animal model of chronic alcoholism. Rats were fed a liquid diet with or without ethanol for 20 weeks and then the diet without ethanol for three more weeks. Hippocampal slices were prepared and intracellular recordings were obtained from dentate granule and CA1 cells. Significant depression of orthodromically elicited inhibitory postsynaptic potentials and postspike afterhyperpolarizations was observed in neurons from ethanol-exposed animals. No differences were observed in other active or passive membrane characteristics. These results suggest that a loss of neuronal inhibition could contribute to brain dysfunction in chronic alcoholism.