Physiological and behavioral effects of acute ethanol hangover in juvenile, adolescent, and adult rats

Behav Neurosci. 2002 Apr;116(2):305-20. doi: 10.1037//0735-7044.116.2.305.


This study examined differential responding of juvenile, adolescent, and adult rats after intoxication from an acute alcohol challenge. Experiment I generated blood ethanol curves for subjects 25, 35, or 110 days postnatal, after doses of 2.0 or 4.0 g/kg, assessing elimination rates and time of drug clearance. Experiment 2 compared ethanol's initial hypothermic and delayed hyperthermic effect across age by 48-hr temperature measurement with telemetry. At clearance or 24 hr after alcohol exposure, Experiment 3 tested subjects for changes in acoustic startle reactivity and ultrasonic vocalization (USV). Younger rats showed an absent or reduced tendency for residual hyperthermia, and adults showed alterations in USV observed as aftereffects of intoxication, despite greater initial blood alcohol levels and ethanol hypothermia in the former. The lesser ethanol hangover effects in weanlings and adolescents may be due in part to faster ethanol elimination at these ages compared with adults.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects
  • Body Temperature / drug effects
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / blood
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / pharmacology*
  • Circadian Rhythm / drug effects
  • Ethanol / blood
  • Ethanol / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Headache / chemically induced*
  • Hypothermia, Induced
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Reflex, Startle / drug effects


  • Central Nervous System Stimulants
  • Ethanol