Repeated episodes of ethanol withdrawal potentiate the severity of subsequent withdrawal seizures: an animal model of alcohol withdrawal "kindling"

Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 1993 Feb;17(1):94-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1530-0277.1993.tb00731.x.


Prior experience with ethanol (EtOH) withdrawal may sensitize an individual to subsequent withdrawal episodes. It has been hypothesized that the progressive intensification of the EtOH withdrawal syndrome following repeated episodes of EtOH intoxication and withdrawal may represent the manifestations of a "kindling" mechanism. The purpose of this study was to develop an animal model of EtOH withdrawal that is sensitive to the effects of prior withdrawal experience. Adult male C3H mice were chronically exposed to EtOH vapor in inhalation chambers prior to withdrawal testing. A multiple withdrawal (MW) group received 3 cycles of 16 hr EtOH vapor separated by 8-hr periods of abstinence; a single withdrawal (SW) group received a single bout of EtOH exposure (16 hr); a third group (SW-CONT) experienced a single withdrawal episode after receiving the equivalent amount of EtOH intoxication as the MW group (16 x 3 = 48 hr), but in a continuous (uninterrupted) fashion; and a fourth group (C) served as controls, not receiving any EtOH exposure throughout the study. Severity of the withdrawal response was assessed by scoring handling-induced convulsions hourly for the first 10 hr and then at 24 hr postwithdrawal. The results indicated that the severity of EtOH withdrawal seizures was significantly greater in animals that had a prior history of withdrawal episodes (MW group) in comparison to a separate group of animals that were tested following a single withdrawal from the same 16-hr intoxication period (SW group).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Withdrawal Delirium / physiopathology*
  • Alcoholic Intoxication / physiopathology
  • Alcoholism / physiopathology
  • Animals
  • Body Temperature Regulation / physiology
  • Body Weight / physiology
  • Brain / physiopathology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Handling, Psychological
  • Kindling, Neurologic / physiology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C3H
  • Seizures / physiopathology*