†These authors contributed equally.
Ethanol is the active ingredient in alcoholic beverages. As ethanol consumption increases from zero to very high, it is still unknown which metabolites are present at different times and which are essential to normal functioning. In this article, we used an intermittent-access 20% ethanol drinking paradigm to make Wistar male rats voluntarily drink large amounts of ethanol for 10, 20, 30, and 50 days, respectively. A hydrogen-1 nuclear magnetic resonance approach was used to investigate the time-dependent neurochemical metabolites spectra in the hippocampus, striatum, nucleus accumbens and prefrontal cortex. Multivariate pattern recognition techniques were used to analyze the hydrogen-1 nuclear magnetic resonance spectra data. Metabolic profiling was obtained, differentiating the ethanol-treated and control rats. The ethanol-affected metabolites disrupted processes associated with neurotransmitters, oxidative stress, energy metabolism and amino acids. Together, our findings demonstrate broad, dynamic, and time-dependent endogenous metabolic alterations in rats treated with ethanol.