These studies are investigating the mechanism of ethanol’s intoxicating effects using the method of microdialysis. With this method molecules in the extracellular fluid of the brain can be measured including neurotransmitters such as dopamine and excitat ory amino acids. A microdialysis probe is placed in a defined brain region (striatum, nucleus accumbens, or hippocampus) and the dialysate is analyzed for levels of the neurotransmitters. Ethanol can be perfused through the microdialysis probe or admini stered i.p. Since the rat is conscious and freely moving during the drug treatment and microdialysis sampling, the drug-induced behavior can be correlated with changes in extracellular levels of neurotransmitters. By measuring both neurochemical and eth anol-induced changes we hope to gain evidence for the neurochemical basis of ethanol-induced behavior.
This area is currently the major focus of research in my lab.
For further information contact Dr. Gonzales.