Enhancement of pavlovian conditioned suppression by mild ethanol intoxication
The present study assessed the effects of ethanol and naloxone on the extinction of a jump-up avoidance response in Sprague-Dawley rats. Rats were first trained to jump onto a shelf to escape or avoid shock (0.5 mA). Upon reaching an acquisition criterion of 8 consecutive avoidance trials, animals were removed from the apparatus and exposed to 1 of 4 doses of ethanol (0, 1.0, 2.0, or 2.5 g/kg), and either naloxone (3 mg/kg) or saline. Rats were then returned to the conditioning apparatus with the shock turned off, and resistance to extinction was assessed. Ethanol had biphasic effects with low doses (1 g/kg) facilitating, and higher doses (2 and 2.5 g/kg) suppressing number of extinction responses by comparison to controls. Naloxone did not influence the course of extinction, and did not reverse any of the effects of ethanol. These results did not support the hypothesis that the effects of ethanol on aversively-motivated behavior are opioid-mediated.