Differential effects of acute alcohol on EEG and sedative responses in adolescent and adult Wistar rats

Brain Res. 2008 Feb 15;1194:28-36. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2007.11.057. Epub 2007 Dec 4.


Age-related developmental differences in sensitivity to the acute effects of alcohol may play an important role in the development of alcoholism. The present study was designed to evaluate the acute effects of alcohol on cortical electroencephalogram (EEG) in adolescent (P36) and adult (P78) Wistar rats. Five minutes of EEG was recorded after administration of 0, 0.75 or 1.5 g/kg alcohol. The righting reflex was performed to measure the sedative effects of alcohol (3.5 g/kg) and total sleeping time for each rat. Our results showed that alcohol (1.5 g/kg) increased power in the 1-2 Hz band and decreased the power in the 32-50 Hz band in the parietal cortical region of adolescent rats. Alcohol (1.5 g/kg) also increased stability of the EEG power in the slow-wave frequency bands (2-4 Hz, 4-6 Hz, and 6-8 Hz) of adolescent rats. In the frontal cortex of adult rats, but not in adolescent rats, alcohol (1.5 or 0.75 g/kg) decreased the power in the 16-32 Hz frequency band. Alcohol (1.5 g/kg) differentially increased power in a multiple of slow-wave frequency bands (2-4 Hz and 4-6 Hz) in the parietal cortex of adult rats as compared to adolescent rats. Adolescent rats were shown significantly shorter sleeping time and higher blood alcohol levels after regaining reflex than adult rats. Our results provide additional evidence of age-related differences in the effects of acute alcohol on cortical EEG, sedation and tolerance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aging / drug effects
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Cerebral Cortex / anatomy & histology
  • Cerebral Cortex / drug effects*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Electroencephalography*
  • Ethanol / administration & dosage*
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives / administration & dosage*
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Reaction Time / drug effects
  • Reflex / drug effects*


  • Hypnotics and Sedatives
  • Ethanol