The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of ethanol on synaptic transmission in the dorsal striatum in rat brain slices. The effects of ethanol on corticostriatal synaptic transmission were tested by whole-cell voltage-clamp recording. Ethanol significantly decreased corticostriatal excitatory postsynaptic currents (EPSCs) in a dose-dependent manner (10-200 mM). However, the paired-pulse ratio was not affected by the ethanol (100 mM) treatment. The amplitude of miniature EPSCs (mEPSCs) from these neurons, recorded without cortical stimulation, was decreased, but the frequency of the mEPSCs remained unchanged. Ethanol also decreased currents induced by the local pressure injection of glutamate into dorsal striatal neurons. These results suggest that ethanol inhibits glutamatergic synaptic transmission in the dorsal striatum, possibly through a postsynaptic mechanism.