Sex and strain influence the effect of ethanol on central monoamines


Objective: We recently investigated the effects of EtOH on the mesolimbic dopamine and serotonin systems in male and female C57BL/6 (B6) and DBA/2J (D2) mice. Method: Male and female rodents from the B6 and D2 mouse strains (n = 11 per strain, sex and dose) were used in this study. Doses of EtOH (vs saline) administered were 1.0, 2.0 or 3.0 g/kg. Results: Treatment with saline or EtOH produced both strain- and sex-dependent differences in patterns of monoamine response. For example, D2s exhibited significantly higher overall dopamine (DA) levels than did B6s in the frontal cortex (FC), nucleus accumbens (NA) and caudate-putamen (CP). In the FC, female D2 evinced elevated 5HIAA at 1.0 g/kg. In the NA, D2 females showed dose related increases in levels of DA up to 3.0 g/kg, whereas in the D2 males and in B6 males and females we observed no response. Also in the NA, B6 males showed increases in dihydroxyphenyacetic acid (DOPAC) at 1.0 and 3.0 g/kg. In the CP, B6 males showed higher DA levels than B6 females at the saline, and all EtOH doses. For serotoninergic activity in the CP as well as the NA, EtOH produced a distinctive triphasic response, with the 1.0 and 3.0 g/kg doses of EtOH producing higher levels than saline and 2.0 g/kg of 5HIAA in B6 males than in B6 females. Conclusions: Our findings indicate strain and sex differences in monoamine response to acute doses of ethanol, and further implicate (via changes in DOPAC) presynaptic mechanisms in the effects of ethanol on dopamine.

Publication Title

Journal of Studies on Alcohol