Genetic propensities to increase ethanol intake in response to stress: studies with selectively bred swim test susceptible (SUS), alcohol-preferring (P), and non-preferring (NP) lines of rats.


Journal Article

RATIONALE: Swim test susceptible (SUS) rats selectively bred for reduced struggling in the forced swim test (FST) following stress show high voluntary ethanol intake like alcohol-preferring (P) rats selectively bred for ethanol preference. It is unknown whether stress enhances drinking in SUS rats or FST behavior in P and non-preferring (NP) rats. OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to assess the response to stress in male SUS, Sprague-Dawley (SD), P, and NP rats on 10% ethanol drinking and FST behavior. METHODS: In experiment 1, SUS and SD rats had limited access to ethanol and water following white noise, rehousing, and forced swim stress. In experiment 2, P and NP rats received footshock, white noise, restraint, or no stress prior to the FST. Rats then had continuous access to ethanol and water, and the effects of weekly exposures to stress were measured. RESULTS: SUS rats drank more ethanol (M = 2.98 g/kg) than SD rats (M = 1.26 g/kg) at baseline. Stress produced sustained increases (~33% of baseline) in ethanol intake in SUS rats. NP rats spent twice as much time immobile as P rats in the FST. Stress did not alter FST behavior in P or NP rats. Only footshock produced an increase (~29%) in ethanol intake in P rats. CONCLUSIONS: Selection for stress-induced depressive-like behavior in SUS rats is associated with enhanced stress-induced ethanol drinking. However, the selection for alcohol preference is not associated with stress-induced depressive-like behavior but is associated with footshock stress-induced ethanol drinking. In these experiments, relationships among stress, depressive-like behavior, and alcohol preference were not symmetrical.

Full Text

Cited Authors

  • Bertholomey, ML; West, CHK; Jensen, ML; Li, T-K; Stewart, RB; Weiss, JM; Lumeng, L

Published Date

  • November 2011

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 218 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 157 - 167

PubMed ID

  • 21706134

Pubmed Central ID

  • 21706134

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1432-2072

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1007/s00213-011-2381-6


  • eng

Conference Location

  • Germany