The 5-HT3 receptor antagonist, ondansetron, blocks the development and expression of ethanol-induced locomotor sensitization in mice

Behav Pharmacol. 2009 Feb;20(1):78-83. doi: 10.1097/FBP.0b013e3283242ff4.


Manipulation of the serotonergic system has been shown to alter ethanol sensitization. Ondansetron is a 5-HT3 receptor antagonist, reported to attenuate cocaine and methamphetamine-induced behavioral sensitization, but no reports are available on its role in ethanol-induced behavioral sensitization. Therefore, an attempt has been made to assess this issue by using an earlier used animal model of ethanol-induced locomotor sensitization. Results indicated that ondansetron (0.25-1.0 mg/kg, subcutaneously) given before the challenge dose of ethanol (2.4 g/kg, intraperitoneally) injection, significantly and dose dependently attenuated the expression of sensitization. In addition, ondansetron (1.0 mg/kg, subcutaneously) given before ethanol injection on days 1, 4, 7, and 10 significantly blocked the development (days 1, 4, 7, and 10), and expression (day 15) of sensitization to the locomotor stimulant effect of ethanol injection. Ondansetron had no effect per se on locomotor activity and did not affect blood ethanol levels. Therefore, the results raise the possibility that ondansetron blocked the development and expression of ethanol-induced locomotor sensitization by acting on 5-HT3 receptors.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects
  • Central Nervous System Depressants / pharmacology
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Interactions
  • Ethanol / blood
  • Ethanol / pharmacology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Motor Activity / drug effects*
  • Ondansetron / pharmacology*
  • Serotonin 5-HT3 Receptor Antagonists*
  • Serotonin Antagonists / pharmacology*


  • Central Nervous System Depressants
  • Serotonin 5-HT3 Receptor Antagonists
  • Serotonin Antagonists
  • Ethanol
  • Ondansetron