Findings from Sensitization Studies

Very little systematic work has been performed so far to elucidate the neurobiologi-cal and molecular mechanisms underlying ethanol-induced behavioral sensitization.

Several studies have shown that the noncompetitive NMDA receptor antagonist dizocilpine prevents the development of drug-induced sensitization processes, and recently, Broadbent and Weitemier (118) showed that dizocilpine also prevents the development of sensitization to ethanol in DBA/2J mice. The inhibtory effect of dizocilpine on the development of behavioral sensitizatzion to ethanol could be explained in terms of state-dependent effects. Thus a sensitized response to ethanol can occur only under the influence of dizocilpine. However, this possibility was ruled out by further experiments demonstrating that dizocilpine treatment inhibits the development of sensitization, independent of a state-dependent effect.

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