Modulation of multiple ethanol withdrawal-induced anxiety-like behavior by CRF and CRF1 receptors

Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2004 Feb;77(2):405-13. doi: 10.1016/j.pbb.2003.11.010.


Previous work demonstrated that rats subjected to multiple withdrawals from chronic ethanol exhibit a sensitization of anxiety-like behavior compared to animals withdrawn from treatment with an equal but continuous amount of ethanol. This study sought to examine whether corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) could modulate this ethanol-withdrawal-induced anxiety-like behavior. Initially, rats were administered with CRF (1 microg) or vehicle intraventricularly on two occasions 5 days apart while on control diet (CD) followed by exposure to 7% ethanol diet (ED) for 5 days, with social interaction assessed 5 h into withdrawal. Social interaction was significantly reduced in the CRF-treated animals compared to vehicle-treated rats and vehicle- and CRF-treated rats maintained on CD, indicative that CRF given before ethanol exposure was capable of inducing an adaptive change that sensitized withdrawal-induced anxiety-like behavior. Next, the CRF(1) receptor antagonist CRA1000 (3 mg/kg, systemically), the CRF(2) receptor antagonist antisauvagine-30 (20 microg intraventricularly), or vehicle was injected 4 h after the ethanol was removed following the first and second cycles of chronic ethanol exposure and the effect on the multiple-withdrawal-induced anxiety-like behavior determined after the third withdrawal cycle. The CRF(1) receptor antagonist blocked the reduced social interaction behavior, whereas the CRF(2) receptor antagonist was without effect. Similar pretreatment with another CRF(1) receptor antagonist CP-154,526 (10 mg/kg systemically) during the first and second withdrawals also counteracted anxiety-like behavior. These findings indicate that the CRF system and CRF(1) receptors play key roles in the adaptive change responsible for the anxiety-like behavior induced by repeated withdrawals from chronic ethanol.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anxiety / chemically induced
  • Anxiety / psychology*
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Central Nervous System Depressants / adverse effects*
  • Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone / pharmacology*
  • Diet
  • Ethanol / adverse effects*
  • Injections, Intraventricular
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Male
  • Peptide Fragments / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptors, Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Receptors, Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone / drug effects*
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome / psychology*


  • CRF receptor type 2
  • Central Nervous System Depressants
  • Peptide Fragments
  • Receptors, Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone
  • antisauvagine 30
  • Ethanol
  • CRF receptor type 1
  • Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone