Local cerebral glucose consumption (l-CMRgl) was studied using [14C]2-deoxyglucose autoradiography in minimally restrained rats during acute (12 or 18 h postwithdrawal (p.w.] and late (14 days p.w.) ethanol withdrawal, as well after 10 previous, weekly withdrawal episodes as after a similar period of isocalorical feeding. A period of two days of intoxication was established by gastric intubation. Spontaneous incomplete convulsive seizures were observed during the 8th to 10th withdrawal episode. Audiogenic seizures occurred following stimulation during the 6th and 10th withdrawal episode. Animals with previous spontaneous or audiogenic seizure were distributed randomly and evenly among the groups. l-CMRgl values were adjusted to a temperature of 38 degrees C. During acute withdrawal, l-CMRgl was significantly reduced by 18-32% in cortical and most limbic regions, but unchanged in cerebellum and subcortical structures as compared with the neutral state (late withdrawal and control groups). l-CMRgl was relatively more lowered in the amygdala in animals with previous spontaneous withdrawal seizures and in structures belonging to the auditory system in animals with previous audiogenic seizures. l-CMRgl did not differ among neutral groups. The lowered l-CMRgl in cortical and limbic regions during withdrawal contrasts to the results of previous studies. This difference may be attributed to the minimal restraint of animals in this study. The pattern of l-CMRgl in acute and late withdrawal animals with previous spontaneous withdrawal seizures is consistent with a mechanism comparable to electrical amygdala kindling contributing to seizure genesis.