Effects of escitalopram on ethanol withdrawal syndrome in rats
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The present study was designed to investigate the effects of escitalopram, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, on ethanol withdrawal syndrome in rats. Adult male Wistar rats (266-278 g) were subjects. Ethanol (7.2%, v/v) was given to rats by a liquid diet for 21 days. Control rats were pair fed with an isocaloric liquid diet containing sucrose as a caloric substitute to ethanol. Escitalopram, (2.5, 5 and 10 mg/kg) and saline were injected to rats intraperitoneally just before ethanol withdrawal. After the second and sixth hours of ethanol withdrawal, rats were observed for 5 min, and withdrawal signs that included locomotor hyperactivity, agitation, stereotyped behavior, wet dog shakes, tremors and audiogenic seizures were recorded or rated. A second series of injections was given 30 min before sixth hour of withdrawal test. Effects of escitalopram on the locomotor activities of the naive (no ethanol-dependent) rats were also evaluated. Escitalopram (5 mg/kg) reduced the increased stereotyped behaviors at the sixth hour of ethanol withdrawal. It inhibited tremors at the second hour of ethanol withdrawal at doses of 5 and 10 mg/kg. Escitalopram (2.5 and 5 mg/kg) also produced some significant attenuations in the incidence of wet dog shakes at the second and sixth hours of the observation period. It was found ineffective on locomotor hyperactivity, agitation and audiogenic seizures. Escitalopram (2.5 and 5 mg/kg) did not cause any significant effect on locomotor activities of the naive rats. Our results suggest that acute escitalopram treatment has some limited beneficial effects on ethanol withdrawal syndrome in rats. (c) 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.