The discriminative stimulus properties of ethanol are functionally regulated by ionotropic GABA(A) and NMDA receptors in specific limbic brain regions including the nucleus accumbens, amygdala, and hippocampus, as determined by microinjection studies. The purpose of the present work was to further investigate potential neural substrates of ethanol's discriminative stimulus effects by examining if ethanol discrimination learning produces changes in brain regional response to ethanol. To accomplish this goal, immunohistochemistry was used to assess the effects of ethanol (2 g/kg) on c-Fos immunoreactivity (Fos-IR). Comparisons in ethanol-induced Fos-IR were made between a group of rats that was trained to discriminate the stimulus properties of ethanol (2 g/kg, IG) from water (IG) and a drug/behavior-matched control group that did not receive differential reinforcement for lever selection, which precluded acquisition of discriminative stimulus control by ethanol. In some brain regions discrimination training had no effect on ethanol-induced Fos-IR changes (caudate putamen, bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, and CA1 region of the hippocampus). In contrast, discrimination training altered the pattern of ethanol-induced Fos-IR in the nucleus accumbens (core), medial septum, and the hippocampus (dentate and CA3). These results indicate that having behavior under the stimulus control of ethanol can change ethanol-induced Fos-IR in some brain regions. This suggests that learning about the subjective properties of ethanol produces adaptive changes in how the brain responds to acute ethanol exposure.