Oral Ethanol Intake and Levels of Blood Alcohol in the Squirrel Monkey

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Oral alcohol ingestion and blood alcohol levels were examined in adult female squirrel monkeys to assess the feasibility of using this primate as a model for fetal alcohol effects, In one experiment, alcohol intake was evaluated in nonpregnant animals under conditions in which the concentration of ethanol, length of ethanol exposure, and degree of liquid deprivation were varied. In another experiment blood alcohol levels were measured in pregnant animals of two subtypes that had been drinking ethanol. In a third experiment, time-dependent blood alcohol levels and behavior were evaluated in nonpregnant monkeys following intubation of specific doses of ethanol. Results showed that nonpregnant monkeys drank ethanol at concentrations of 5 to 10%, and that the amount of ethanol consumed was related to the concentration and length of time ethanol was available. When given access to a 5% ethanol solution, pregnant animals drank quantities that varied between individuals and subtypes, with maximum blood levels, measured up to 6 hr after presentation, ranging from 1 to 196 mg%. Intubation of ethanol resulted in blood alcohol levels and incoordination scores that were linearly related to dose, with maximum effects occurring 1 hr after administration. Elimination of ethanol from the blood at levels above 50 mg% occurred at a rate of about 35 mg%/hr, while the rate of clearance from the body was calculated to be approximately 250 mg/kg/hr.



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