The possible role of voltage-sensitive calcium channels (VSCCs) in the anxiolytic effect of ethanol was investigated using three different doses of ethanol (0.5, 1.0 and 2.0 g/kg) with calcium agonist Bay K 8644 (0.5 mg/kg) and calcium antagonist nifedipine (5 mg/kg) in rats. Ethanol produced an anxiolytic effect in a dose-dependent manner. The Bay K 8644-potentiated anxiolytic effect of ethanol, however, Bay K 8644 did not alter anxiety when used alone. Nifedipine itself showed an anxiolytic effect but did not change the ethanol-induced anxiolytic effect. This finding may lead to the consideration of the neurochemical mechanisms of the anxiolytic effects of ethanol and nifedipine as they vary from each other.