Persistent high alcohol consumption in alcohol-preferring (P) rats results from a lack of normal aversion to alcohol.
AIMS: In this study, we tested the impact of pretreatment with alcohol on subsequent alcohol drinking in outbred Sprague-Dawley and selectively bred alcohol-preferring (P) rats. METHODS: As a pretreatment, male Sprague-Dawley and P rats were given a passive oral administration of either alcohol (1.0 g/kg) or tap water. Then, they were given free choice of drinking alcohol (5% v/v) or water in their home cages, which was measured over 4 weeks. RESULTS: Without alcohol pretreatment, there was no significant strain difference in alcohol preference; both strains preferred 5% (v/v) alcohol solution. The strain difference was only apparent in the groups given alcohol pretreatment. This arose from the fact that alcohol pretreatment significantly reduced alcohol preference in the Sprague-Dawley rats to a level well below 50%, while it did not alter drinking behavior in P rats. The same effects were seen with total alcohol consumption (g/kg/day). These effects persisted throughout the 4 weeks of the study. CONCLUSIONS: The principal difference between the Sprague-Dawley and P rats was that the P rats did not show the normal aversion to alcohol after forced exposure to alcohol that the Sprague-Dawley rats showed. One of the potential contributors to high alcohol intake and preference in P rats may be lack of sensitivity to aversive effects of alcohol.
Rezvani, AH; Sexton, H; Levin, ED
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