Agmatine reduces balance deficits in a rat model of third trimester binge-like ethanol exposure

B. Lewis, K. A. Wellmann, S. Barron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


This study examined the effects of binge-like ethanol (ETOH) exposure in neonatal rats on a cerebellar-mediated balance task, and the ability of agmatine, an n-methyl-d-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) modulator, to reverse such effects. Five neonatal treatments groups were used, including ETOH (6.0 g/kg/day), AG (20 mg/kg), ETOH plus AG (6.0 g/kg/day and 20 mg/kg), a maltose control, and a non-treated control. Ethanol was administered via oral intubation twice daily for eight days, (AG was administered with the last ETOH intubation only). Two exposure periods were used; PND 1-8 or PND 8-15. On PND 31-33, balance performance on a single dowel was tested. Treatment with AG during withdrawal in ETOH exposed animals improved performance relative to ETOH alone among the PND 1-8 exposure period. ETOH exposure during the 2nd postnatal week did not impair balance. These findings provide further support that exposure to ETOH during critical developmental periods can impair performance on a cerebellar-dependent balance task. Of perhaps greater significance, co-administration of agmatine reduced these deficits suggesting that NMDA modulation via polyamine blockade may provide a novel approach to attenuating damage associated with binge-like ETOH consumption.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)114-121
Number of pages8
JournalPharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 2007

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank Dennis Morrell and Trey Alexander for their assistance in data collection, and Clay Adams for the supply of polyethylene tubing. This research was supported, in part, by NIAAA grant # AA-014032 to SB.


  • Agmatine
  • Alcohol
  • BAC
  • Balance
  • Ethanol
  • Ethanol withdrawal
  • Excitotoxicity
  • FASD
  • Fetal alcohol syndrome
  • Glutamate
  • NMDA
  • NR2B
  • Polyamines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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