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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Deletion of N-type calcium channels alters ethanol reward and reduces ethanol consumption in mice

  • Author(s): Newton, P M
  • Orr, C J
  • Wallace, M J
  • Kim, C
  • Shin, H S
  • Messing, R O
  • et al.

N-type calcium channels are modulated by acute and chronic ethanol exposure in vitro at concentrations known to affect humans, but it is not known whether N-type channels are important for behavioral responses to ethanol in vivo. Here, we show that in mice lacking functional N-type calcium channels, voluntary ethanol consumption is reduced and place preference is developed only at a low dose of ethanol. The hypnotic effects of ethanol are also substantially diminished, whereas ethanol-induced ataxia is mildly increased. These results demonstrate that N-type calcium channels modulate acute responses to ethanol and are important mediators of ethanol reward and preference.

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