6-OHDA-lesions of the nucleus accumbens disrupt the acquisition but not the maintenance of ethanol consumption in the alcohol-preferring P line of rats

Journal Article

The aim of the present study was determine whether reduction of dopamine (DA) innervation to the nucleus accumbens (ACB) alters the maintenance end/or acquisition of ethanol drinking in female alcohol-preferring P rats. Compared with sham-lesioned animals, bilateral microinjections of 6-OHDA (12 μg/2.4 μl/site) into the ACB did not alter the consumption of 10% ethanol in rats that had prior experience of ethanol drinking, with both sham- and 6-OHDA- lesioned groups recovering to presurgical consumption levels at similar rates. On the other hand, the identical lesion procedure disrupted the acquisition of ethanol intake in rats with no ethanol-drinking experience prior to the lesions. A sham-lesioned group attained an ethanol intake of approximately 7 g/kg/day in 1 week, which was maintained over the following 2-week period, while the ethanol intake of the 6-OHDA-lesioned group was approximately 60% lower after 1 week and 30% lower at the end of 3 weeks. DA content of the ACB was 60% lower in both groups of the 6-OHDA-treated rats compared with the controls. The results suggest that different neural mechanisms may underlie the acquisition and maintenance of ethanol drinking behavior; the ACB DA system appears to play an important role in the acquisition of ethanol drinking.

Cited Authors

  • Ikemoto, S; McBride, WJ; Murphy, JM; Lumeng, L; Li, TK

Published Date

  • 1997

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 21 / 6

Start / End Page

  • 1042 - 1046

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0145-6008