Aims: Effects of l-arginine, a nitric oxide (NO) precursor, on ethanol withdrawal syndrome were investigated in rats.
Methods: Ethanol (7.2% v/v) was given to rats by a liquid diet for 16 days. l-Arginine (250, 500 and 1000 mg/kg) or saline were injected into rats intraperitoneally 20 min before ethanol withdrawal. All injections were repeated 30 min before the 6th h of the observation period. The effects of l-arginine on ethanol withdrawal syndrome were evaluated during the first 6 h of ethanol withdrawal.
Results: l-Arginine (250 mg/kg) potentiated significantly vertical and ambulatory locomotor activities at only the 30th minute of the observation period. l-Arginine (500 and 1000 mg/kg) inhibited behavioural signs of ethanol withdrawal significantly. l-Arginine (1000 mg/kg) also prolonged the latency and attenuated the intensity of audiogenic seizures. This dose of l-arginine also reduced both vertical and ambulatory locomotor hyperactivity of the rats from the 2nd hour of ethanol withdrawal. l-Arginine (1000 mg/kg) did not produce any significant change in the locomotor activities of the naive (non-ethanol-dependent) rats.
Conclusions: Our results indicate that l-arginine at high doses alleviates the signs of ethanol withdrawal syndrome in rats.