Agmatine blocks ethanol-induced locomotor hyperactivity in male mice

Eur J Pharmacol. 2011 May 20;659(1):26-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ejphar.2011.03.010. Epub 2011 Apr 5.


Ethanol-induced locomotor activity is associated to rewarding effects of ethanol and ethanol dependence. Agmatine is a novel endogenous ligand at α2-adrenoceptors, imidazoline and N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptors, as well as a nitric oxide synthase (NOS) inhibitor. There is no evidence presented for the relationship between the acute locomotor stimulating effect of ethanol and agmatine. Thus, the present study investigated the effects of agmatine on acute ethanol-induced locomotor hyperactivity in mice. Adult male Swiss-Webster mice (26-36g) were used as subjects. Locomotor activity of the mice was recorded for 30min immediately following intraperitoneal administration of ethanol (0.5, 1 and 2g/kg) or saline (n=8 for each group). Agmatine (5, 10 and 20mg/kg) or saline was administered intraperitoneally to another four individual groups (n=8 for each group) of the mice 20min before the ethanol injection. In these groups, locomotor activity was also recorded immediately following ethanol (0.5g/kg) injection for 30min. Ethanol (0.5g/kg) produced some significant increases in locomotor activity of the mice. Agmatine (5-20mg/kg) significantly blocked the ethanol (0.5g/kg)-induced locomotor hyperactivity. These doses of agmatine did not affect the locomotor activity in naive mice when they were administered alone. Our results suggest that agmatine has an important role in ethanol-induced locomotor hyperactivity in mice. There may be a relationship between the addictive psychostimulant effects of the ethanol and central agmatinergic system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Agmatine / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Ethanol / adverse effects*
  • Hyperkinesis / chemically induced*
  • Hyperkinesis / drug therapy*
  • Hyperkinesis / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Motor Activity / drug effects
  • Time Factors


  • Ethanol
  • Agmatine