Relapse-like ethanol-drinking behavior depends on increased glutamate transmission in the mesocorticolimbic motive circuit. Extracellular glutamate is regulated by a number of glutamate transporters. Of these transporters, glutamate transporter 1 (GLT1) is responsible for the majority of extracellular glutamate uptake. We have recently reported that ceftriaxone (CEF) treatment (i.p.), a β-lactam antibiotic known to elevate GTL1 expression, reduced ethanol intake in male alcohol-preferring (P) rats. We investigated here whether CEF treatment attenuates relapse-like ethanol-drinking behavior. P rats were exposed to free choice of 15% and 30% ethanol for 5 weeks and treated with CEF (50 and 100 mg/kg, i.p.) during the last 5 days of the 2-week deprivation period. Rats treated with CEF during the deprivation period showed a reduction in ethanol intake compared with saline-treated rats upon re-exposure to ethanol; this effect persisted for 9 days. Moreover, CEF-mediated attenuation in relapse to ethanol-drinking behavior was associated with upregulation of GLT1 level in prefrontal cortex and nucleus accumbens core. GLT1 upregulation was revealed only at the higher dose of CEF. In addition, CEF has no effect on relapse-like sucrose-drinking behavior. These findings suggest that ceftriaxone might be used as a potential therapeutic treatment for the attenuation of relapse-like ethanol-drinking behavior.
Relapse; glutamate; ethanol intake; EAAT2; alcohol dependence
Increased glutamatergic neurotransmission appears to mediate the reinforcing properties of drugs of abuse, including ethanol (EtOH). We recently reported that the administration of ceftriaxone (CEF), a β-lactam antibiotic known to upregulate glutamate transporter 1 (GLT1) levels/activity, decreased the maintenance of EtOH intake in adult male alcohol-preferring (P) rats. In the present study, we tested whether CEF administration would reduce the acquisition and maintenance of EtOH drinking in adolescent and adult female P rats. The rats were treated with saline or 200 mg/kg ceftriaxone for 7 days (starting at 35 or 75 days old, respectively) followed by the EtOH acquisition test. Five weeks later the effects of CEF were examined regarding the maintenance of EtOH intake. For the maintenance test, half of the animals that received CEF during acquisition received CEF for 7 days and the other half received saline for 7 days. Saline-treated acquisition animals were treated similarly. The results indicated that pretreatment with ceftriaxone reduced the maintenance of EtOH intake in both animals that started as adolescents and those that started as adults. However, the beneficial effect of CEF was more pronounced in rats pretreated with CEF as adults compared with rats pretreated as adolescents. Reductions in EtOH intake by ceftriaxone were paralleled by an upregulation of GLT1 protein levels in both the nucleus accumbens (µ25% in rats starting at both ages) and prefrontal cortex (µ50% in rats starting as peri-adolescents and µ65% in those starting as adults). These findings provide further support for GLT1-associated mechanisms in high alcohol consuming behavior, and hold promise for the development of effective treatments targeting alcohol abuse and dependence.
Ceftriaxone; EAAT2; acquisition; maintenance
Studies have demonstrated that deletion of equilibrative nucleoside transporter 1 (ENT1) is associated with reduced glutamate transporter 1 (GLT1) level, and consequently increased ethanol intake. In this study, we measured changes in GLT1 and ENT1 levels in prefrontal cortex (PFC), and nucleus accumbens (NAc) core and shell associated with alcohol drinking in alcohol-preferring (P) rats. We examined then whether ceftriaxone (CEF) would affect both GLT1 and ENT1 levels in these brain regions. P rats were given 24-hour concurrent access to 15% and 30% ethanol, water, and food for five weeks. On Week 6, P rats received 100 mg/kg CEF (i.p.) or a saline vehicle for five consecutive days. Ethanol intake was measured daily for 8 days starting on the first day of injections. We found a significant reduction in daily ethanol intake in CEF treated group, starting on day 2 of injections. Western blot for GLT1 and binding assay for ENT1 revealed downregulation of GLT1 level, whereas ENT1 levels were increased in the NAc core and NAc shell, respectively, but not in the PFC in saline vehicle group. Importantly, CEF treatment reversed these effects in both NAc core and shell. These findings provide evidence for potential regulatory effects of CEF on both GLT1 and ENT1 expression in reducing ethanol intake.
ENT1; GLT1; EAAT2; alcohol dependence; glutamate
We have previously shown that ceftriaxone, β-lactam antibiotic known to upregulate glutamate transporter 1 (GLT1), reduced ethanol intake in alcohol-preferring (P) rats. GLT1 is a glial glutamate transporter that regulates the majority of extracellular glutamate uptake. We tested in this study the effects of neuroimmunophilin GPI-1046 (3-(3-pyridyl)-1-propyl (2S)-1-(3,3-dimethyl-1,2-dioxopentyl)-2-pyrrolidinecarboxylate), known also to upregulate GLT1 expression, in ethanol intake in P rats. Male P rats had concurrent access to free choice of 15% and 30% ethanol, water, and food for five weeks. On Week 6, P rats continued in this drinking and food regimen and they were administered either 10 or 20 mg/kg GPI-1046 (i.p.), or a vehicle for five consecutive days. Body weight, ethanol intake, and water consumption were measured daily for 8 days starting on Day 1 of GPI-1046 or vehicle i.p. injections. We have also tested the effect of GPI-1046 (20 mg/kg) on daily sucrose (10%) intake. The data revealed significant dose-dependent effects in the reduction of ethanol intake starting 48 h after the first treatment with GPI-1046 throughout treatment and post-treatment periods. There were also dose-dependent increases in water intake. However, GPI-1046 treatment did not affect the body weight of all animals nor sucrose intake. Importantly, GPI-1046 (20 mg/kg) increased GLT1 level compared to all groups in nucleus accumbens core (NAc-core). Alternatively, GPI-1046 (10 mg/kg) upregulated GLT1 level in NAc-core compared to vehicle (ethanol naïve) group. Moreover, both doses of GPI-1046 increased significantly GLT1 level in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) compared to ethanol naïve vehicle group. GPI-1046 (20 mg/kg) increased GLT1 level in PFC compared to naïve control group that was exposed to water and food only. These findings demonstrated that neuroimmunophilin GPI-1046 attenuates ethanol intake in part through the upregulation of GLT1 in PFC and NAc-core.
GLT1; EAAT2; glutamate; alcohol dependence; GPI-1046; neuroimmunophilin
We have recently shown that upregulation of glutamate transporter 1 (GLT1) in the brain is associated in part with reduction in ethanol intake in alcohol-preferring (P) male rats. In this study, we investigated the effects of a synthetic compound, (R)-(−)-5-methyl-1-nicotinoyl-2-pyrazoline (MS-153), known to activate GLT1 on ethanol consumption as well as GLT1 expression and certain signaling pathways in P rats. P rats were given 24-h concurrent access to 15 and 30% ethanol, water and food for 5 weeks. On week 6, P rats received MS-153 at a dose of 50 mg/kg (i.p.) or a vehicle (i.p.) for 5 consecutive days. We also tested the effect of MS-153 on daily sucrose (10%) intake. Our studies revealed a significant decrease in ethanol intake at the dose of 50 mg/kg MS-153 from Day 1 through 14. In addition, MS-153 at dose of 50 mg/kg did not induce any significant effect on sucrose intake. Importantly, we found that MS-153 upregulated the GLT1 level in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) but not in the prefrontal cortex (PFC). In accordance, we found upregulation of nuclear NFkB-65 level in NAc in MS-153-treated group, however, IkBα was downregulated in MS-153-treated group in NAc. We did not find any changes in NFkB-65 and IkBα levels in PFC. Interestingly, we revealed that p-Akt was downregulated in ethanol vehicle treated groups in the NAc; this downregulation was reversed by MS-153 treatment. We did not observe any significant differences in glutamate aspartate transporter (GLAST) expression among all groups. These findings reveal MS-153 as a GLT1 modulator that may have potential as a therapeutic drug for the treatment of alcohol dependence.
MS-153; glutamate; EAAT2; GLT1; alcohol dependence; P rats
Evidence suggests that glutamate transporter 1 (GLT-1) and cystine/glutamate exchanger transporter (xCT) are critical in maintaining glutamate homeostasis. We have recently demonstrated that ceftriaxone treatment induced up-regulation of GLT1 levels and attenuated ethanol intake; however, less is known about the involvement of xCT on ethanol intake. In this study, we investigated the effects of ceftriaxone on the levels of xCT in both continuous and relapse-like ethanol drinking, as well as GLT-1 isoforms, and glutamate aspartate transporter (GLAST) in relapse-like ethanol intake.
P rats received free choice of 15 and 30 % ethanol and water for 5 weeks and then deprived of ethanol for 2 weeks. Rats were treated with ceftriaxone (100 mg/kg, i.p.) or saline during the last 5 days of the 2-week deprivation period. After deprivation period, P rats were re-exposed to free choice of 15 and 30 % ethanol and water for nine consecutive days. A second group of P rats was given continuous ethanol access for 5 weeks, then ceftriaxone (100 mg/kg, i.p.) or saline throughout the week 6.
Ceftriaxone significantly attenuated relapse-like ethanol intake. Importantly, this effect of ceftriaxone was associated in part with upregulation of the levels of GLT-1a and GLT-1b isoforms and xCT in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and the nucleus accumbens (NAc). There were no significant differences in GLAST expression among all groups. We also found that ceftriaxone treatment increased xCT levels in both PFC and NAc in continuous ethanol intake.
These findings suggest that xCT and GLT-1 isoforms might be target proteins for the treatment of alcohol dependence.
Relapse; Glutamate; Ethanol intake; GLT-1a; GLT-1b; xCT
Evidence has demonstrated that deficits in glutamate transmission impair neurocircuits involved in drug abuse or drug-seeking behaviour and affect many aspects of neuroplasticity associated with alcohol and drug addiction. Alcohol-seeking behaviour is promoted by increased glutamate transmission in key regions of the mesocorticolimbic reward circuit, including the nucleus accumbens and prefrontal cortex. Glutamate transmission or glutamate uptake is regulated by a number of glutamate transporters in the brain regions. Among these glutamate transporters, glutamate transporter 1 (GLT1; its human homolog is the excitatory amino acid transporter 2, EAAT2) regulates the removal of majority of the extracellular glutamate. The role of GLT1 has been tested in alcohol and other drugs of abuse models with dysfunction in glutamate transmission. We recently reported that treatment of alcohol-preferring rats with compounds ceftriaxone and GPI-1046, known to upregulate GLT1 levels, showed reduction in alcohol intake and attenuation of relapse-like ethanol-drinking behaviour. Furthermore, we demonstrated that upregulation of GLT1 was associated with attenuation of cue-induced cocaine relapse. Together, we suggest that GLT1 is considered as a potential therapeutic target for the treatment of drug dependence, including alcohol. The aim of this critical review was to discuss the potential therapeutic role of GLT1 for the treatment of alcohol dependence.
Dysfunction of glutamate transmission has been suggested to impair neurocircuits involved in alcohol dependence, which affect neuroplasticity that is associated with ethanol intake.
Brucine (BRU) extracted from the seeds of Strychnos nux-vomica L is glycine receptor antagonist. We hypothesize that BRU may modify alcohol consumption by acting at glycine receptors, and evaluated the pharmacodynamic profiles and adverse effects of BRU in rat models of alcohol abuse.
Alcohol-preferring Fawn-Hooded (FH/Wjd) rats were administered BRU (10, 20 or 30 mg/kg, sc). The effects of BRU on alcohol consumption were examined in ethanol 2-bottle-choice drinking paradigm, ethanol/sucrose operant self-administration paradigm and 5-d ethanol deprivation test. In addition, open field test was used to assess the general locomotor activity of FH/Wjd rats, and conditioned place preference (CPP) was conducted to assess conditioned reinforcing effect.
In ethanol 2-bottle-choice drinking paradigm, treatment with BRU for 10 consecutive days dose-dependently decreased the ethanol intake associated with a compensatory increase of water intake, but unchanged the daily total fluid intake and body weight. In ethanol/sucrose operant self-administration paradigms, BRU (30 mg/kg) administered before each testing session significantly decreased the number of lever presses for ethanol and the ethanol intake, without affecting the number of sucrose (10%) responses, total sucrose intake, and the number of lever presses for water. Acute treatment with BRU (30 mg/kg) completely suppressed the deprivation-induced elevation of ethanol consumption. Treatment with BRU (10, 20, and 30 mg/kg) did not alter locomotion of FH/Wjd rats, nor did it produce place preference or aversion.
BRU selectively decreases ethanol consumption with minimal adverse effects. Therefore, BRU may represent a new pharmacotherapy for alcoholism.
alcoholism; ethanol; brucine; glycine receptor antagonist; Fawn-Hooded (FH/Wjd) rat
Rationale and objectives
Sigma receptors have been implicated in appetitive effects of psychostimulants and in high levels of ethanol intake. This study tested the hypothesis that the sigma-1 receptor subtype (Sig-1R) may modulate ethanol intake.
Material and methods
The effects of acute and repeated treatment with the potent, selective Sig-1R antagonist NE-100 on ethanol intake (10%) were studied in adult, male Sardinian alcohol-preferring (sP) rats, a model of genetic predisposition to high ethanol drinking. To assess the specificity of action, the acute effects of NE-100 on intake of an equally preferred sucrose solution and of a higher concentration of ethanol that sP rats did not prefer over water (28%), were determined. Finally, the ability of NE-100 administration to prevent the increased ethanol intake that occurs after deprivation was evaluated.
Acute treatment with NE-100 dose-dependently (10–30 mg/kg) reduced 1- and 3-h intake of 10% ethanol solution in sP rats, while increasing concurrent water intake and not affecting food intake. NE-100 (17.8–30 mg/kg) comparably reduced intake of the 28% ethanol solution, while not suppressing 1.25% sucrose solution intake, suggesting selectivity of action against ethanol intake. Acute NE-100 (30 mg/kg) also prevented an increase in ethanol intake after a 7-day deprivation period. Repeated, daily NE-100 (30 mg/kg) treatment continued to reduce 24-h ethanol intake across 7 days of administration, with some, but incomplete, tolerance, evident by day 6.
The results implicate the Sig-1R system in alcohol drinking, identifying a potential therapeutic target for the treatment of alcohol use disorders.
Ethanol; Addiction; Rat; Alcoholism; Treatment
The glutamate transporter GLT-1 is responsible for the largest proportion of total glutamate transport. Recently, it has been demonstrated that ceftriaxone (CEF) robustly increases GLT-1 expression. In addition, physiological studies have shown that GLT-1 up-regulation strongly affects synaptic plasticity, and leads to an impairment of the prepulse inhibition, a simple form of information processing, thus suggesting that GLT-1 over-expression may lead to dysfunctions of large populations of neurons. To test this possibility, we assessed whether CEF affects cortical electrical activity by using chronic electroencephalographic (EEG) recordings in male WKY rats. Spectral analysis showed that 8 days of CEF treatment resulted in a delayed reduction in EEG theta power (7–9 Hz) in both frontal and parietal derivations. This decrease peaked at day 10, i.e., 2 days after the end of treatment, and disappeared by day 16. In addition, we found that the same CEF treatment increased motor activity, especially when EEG changes are more prominent. Taken together, these data indicate that GLT-1 up-regulation, by modulating glutamatergic transmission, impairs the activity of widespread neural circuits. In addition, the increased motor activity and prepulse inhibition alterations previously described suggest that neural circuits involved in sensorimotor control are particularly sensitive to GLT-1 up-regulation.
Previous studies have shown that high alcohol consumption is associated with low withdrawal susceptiblility, while at the same time, other studies have shown that exposure to ethanol vapor increases alcohol drinking in rats and mice. In the present studies, we sought to shed light on this seeming contradiction by using mice selectively bred for High- (HAP) and Low- (LAP) Alcohol Preference, first, assessing these lines for differences in signs of ethanol withdrawal and second, for differences in the efficacy of intermittent alcohol vapor exposure on elevating subsequent ethanol intake.
Experiment 1 examined whether these lines of mice differed in ethanol withdrawal-induced CNS hyperexcitability and the development of sensitization to this effect following intermittent ethanol vapor exposure. Adult HAP and LAP lines (replicates 1 and 2), and the C3H/HeNcr inbred strain (included as a control genotype for comparison purposes) received intermittent exposure to ethanol vapor and were evaluated for ethanol withdrawal-induced seizures assessed by scoring handling-induced convulsions (HIC). Experiment 2 examined the influence of chronic intermittent ethanol exposure on voluntary ethanol drinking. Adult male and female HAP-2 and LAP-2 mice, along with male C57BL/6J (included as comparative controls) were trained to drink 10% ethanol using a limited access (2 hr/day) 2-bottle choice paradigm. After stable baseline daily intake was established, mice received chronic intermittent ethanol vapor exposure in inhalation chambers. Ethanol intake sessions resumed 72 hr after final ethanol (or air) exposure for 5 consecutive days.
Following chronic ethanol treatment, LAP mice exhibited overall greater withdrawal seizure activity compared to HAP mice. In Experiment 2, chronic ethanol exposure/withdrawal resulted in a significant increase in ethanol intake in male C57BL/6J, and modestly elevated intake in HAP-2 male mice. Ethanol intake for male control mice did not change from baseline levels of intake. In contrast, HAP-2 females and LAP-2 mice of both sexes did not show changes in ethanol intake as a consequence of intermittent ethanol exposure.
Overall, these results indicate that the magnitude of ethanol withdrawal-related seizures is inversely related to inherited ethanol intake preference. Additionally, intermittent ethanol vapor exposure appears more likely to affect high-drinking mice (C57BL/6J and HAP-2) than low drinkers, even though these animals are less affected by ethanol withdrawal.
Ethanol Dependence; Withdrawal Sensitization; Ethanol Drinking; Selected Lines
New therapies are needed for alcohol abuse, a major public health problem in the U.S. and worldwide. There are only three FDA-approved drugs for treatment of alcohol abuse (naltrexone, acamprosate and disulfuram). On average these drugs yield only moderate success in reducing long-term alcohol consumption. Electroacupuncture has been shown to alleviate various drugs of abuse, including alcohol. Although previous studies have shown that electroacupuncture reduced alcohol consumption, the underlying mechanisms have not been fully elucidated. ΔFosB and FosB are members of the Fos family of transcription factors implicated in neural plasticity in drug addiction; a connection between electroacupuncture's treatment of alcohol abuse and the Fos family has not been established. In this study, we trained rats to drink large quantities of ethanol in a modified intermittent access two-bottle choice drinking procedure. When rats achieved a stable baseline of ethanol consumption, electroacupuncture (100 Hz or 2 Hz, 30 min each day) was administered at Zusanli (ST36) for 6 consecutive days. The level of FosB/ΔFosB in reward-related brain regions was assessed by immunohistochemistry. We found that the intake of and preference for ethanol in rats under 100 Hz, but not 2 Hz electroacupuncture regiment were sharply reduced. The reduction was maintained for at least 72 hours after the termination of electroacupuncture treatment. Conversely, 100 Hz electroacupuncture did not alter the intake of and preference for the natural rewarding agent sucrose. Additionally, FosB/ΔFosB levels in the prefrontal cortex, striatal region and the posterior region of ventral tegmental area were increased following excessive ethanol consumption, but were reduced after six-day 100 Hz electroacupuncture. Thus, this study demonstrates that six-day 100 Hz electroacupuncture treatment effectively reduces ethanol consumption and preference in rats that chronically drink excessive amount of ethanol. This effect of electroacupuncture may be mediated by down-regulation of FosB/ΔFosB in reward-related brain regions.
To evaluate the effectiveness of ceftriaxone treatment in attenuating relapse-like ethanol drinking behavior in male P rats following 14-weeks of continuous ethanol consumption.
After 14-weeks of continuous access to free choice of 15% and 30% ethanol, male P rats were deprived of ethanol for two weeks. On the last five days of abstinence period, P rats were treated, once a day, with either saline or ceftriaxone (50 or 200 mg/kg; i.p.). This was followed by re-exposure to ethanol for the next 10 days to simulate the relapse-like ethanol drinking behavior.
Ceftriaxone treatment (during abstinence) reduced ethanol intake upon re-exposure to ethanol, compared to the saline treated P rats. This statistically significant reduction in ethanol consumption in P rats following treatment with ceftriaxone (200 mg/kg/day) was observed from Day 2 to Day 9. Similarly, water consumption in P rats treated with ceftriaxone was significantly higher than the saline treated group between Day 2 and Day 7. Importantly, ceftriaxone treatment at both doses did not cause any significant changes in body weight compared to saline treated group.
We report here that ceftriaxone at higher dose has been found to be effective in the attenuation of relapse-like ethanol-drinking behavior in chronic ethanol intake model. This is in accordance with previous data from our lab in cocaine animal model demonstrating that only higher dose of ceftriaxone has been effective in attenuating cocaine relapse.
Glutamate; GLT1; Relapse; P rats; Ceftriaxone
There has been some difficulty getting standard laboratory rats to voluntarily consume large amounts of ethanol without the use of initiation procedures. It has previously been shown that standard laboratory rats will voluntarily consume high levels of ethanol if given intermittent-access to 20% ethanol in a 2-bottle-choice setting [Wise, Psychopharmacologia 29 (1973), 203]. In this study, we have further characterized this drinking model.
Ethanol-naïve Long–Evans rats were given intermittent-access to 20% ethanol (three 24-hour sessions per week). No sucrose fading was needed and water was always available ad libitum. Ethanol consumption, preference, and long-term drinking behaviors were investigated. Furthermore, to pharmacologically validate the intermittent-access 20% ethanol drinking paradigm, the efficacy of acamprosate and naltrexone in decreasing ethanol consumption were compared with those of groups given continuous-access to 10 or 20% ethanol, respectively. Additionally, ethanol consumption was investigated in Wistar and out-bred alcohol preferring (P) rats following intermittent-access to 20% ethanol.
The intermittent-access 20% ethanol 2-bottle-choice drinking paradigm led standard laboratory rats to escalate their ethanol intake over the first 5 to 6 drinking sessions, reaching stable baseline consumption of high amounts of ethanol (Long–Evans: 5.1 ± 0.6; Wistar: 5.8 ± 0.8 g/kg/24 h, respectively). Furthermore, the cycles of excessive drinking and abstinence led to an increase in ethanol preference and increased efficacy of both acamprosate and naltrexone in Long–Evans rats. P-rats initiate drinking at a higher level than both Long–Evans and Wistar rats using the intermittent-access 20% ethanol paradigm and showed a trend toward a further escalation in ethanol intake over time (mean ethanol intake: 6.3 ± 0.8 g/kg/24 h).
Standard laboratory rats will voluntarily consume ethanol using the intermittent-access 20% ethanol drinking paradigm without the use of any initiation procedures. This model promises to be a valuable tool in the alcohol research field.
Animal Models; Alcohol; Addiction; Rats; Acamprosate; Naltrexone
Relapse to cocaine-seeking behavior depends on increased glutamate transmission in key regions of the mesocorticolimbic motive circuit, including prefrontal cortex (PFC) and nucleus accumbens (NAcc). Because GLT1 is responsible for the uptake of ≥90% of extracellular glutamate, we tested the hypothesis that increased GLT1 expression attenuates cocaine relapse. Rats were trained to self-administer cocaine (0.125 mg per iv infusion) in a lever-pressing task in a daily two-hour session for 10–14 days followed by five days of extinction training. Immediately after each extinction session, rats received ceftriaxone (ip), a β-lactam antibiotic believed to increase GLT1 expression, or vehicle. On the following day, presentation of the cue (light and tone) previously associated with cocaine self-administration reinstated lever-pressing in rats treated with vehicle, whereas 100 or 200, but not 50 mg/kg ceftriaxone blocked this response. Immunoblotting confirmed that the ceftriaxone-induced blockade of cocaine relapse was associated with an increase in GLT1 expression in both PFC and NAcc. In separate groups of rats, 200 mg/kg ceftriaxone failed to block cue-induced food seeking, arguing against a ceftriaxone-induced effect unique to extinction training or lever pressing. Our results suggest that glutamate plays a key role in cue-induced relapse to cocaine-seeking behavior, implicating GLT1 as a potential therapeutic target for cocaine addiction.
ceftriaxone; cocaine; GLT1; glutamate; prefrontal cortex; nucleus accumbens
Human studies have suggested an important relationship between ethanol sensitivity and risk of alcoholism. These studies have led some to hypothesize that a low initial sensitivity to ethanol’s depressant effects and/or an elevated response to ethanol’s stimulant effects may represent important risk factors associated with the development of abusive drinking behavior. Unfortunately, elucidating neurobiological mechanisms that may underlie these relationships between ethanol sensitivity and ethanol drinking have been hampered by difficulties in modeling some of these interactions in animals. In this study, we re-examined some of these relationships in an outbred strain of rats using continuous access two-bottle choice drinking and a limited access operant procedure that engenders pharmacologically relevant levels of ethanol intake and permits the discrete assessment of appetitive and consummatory measures of ethanol drinking behavior.
Twenty-three male Long-Evans rats were habituated to a locomotor activity box and then tested for their response to a stimulant (0.5 g/kg) and depressant (1.5 g/kg) ethanol dose. Rats were then trained to complete a lever pressing requirement to gain access to 10% ethanol for 20 min. sessions conducted five days/week for five weeks. Appetitive behavior was assessed after 2.5 and 4.5 weeks using 20 min. extinction trials in which ethanol was not presented and lever responses were recorded. Home-cage ethanol preference was also assessed prior to, and immediately following, the five week self-administration regimen using a continuous access, two-bottle choice procedure.
A significant increase in home-cage ethanol preference was observed following the self-administration procedure however neither measure of ethanol preference correlated with average daily ethanol intake during the operant self-administration sessions or with initial sensitivity to ethanol’s stimulant or depressant effects. Notably, a significant negative correlation was observed between sensitivity to ethanol’s locomotor depressant effect and daily intake during the operant self-administration sessions. No significant relationships were noted between sensitivity to ethanol’s locomotor effects and extinction responding.
The results of these studies suggest that the well-established relationship between a low level of response to ethanol and increased ethanol consumption reported in human studies can be observed in an outbred rodent strain using a limited access operant self-administration procedure, but not with home-cage ethanol drinking.
Sigma (σ) receptors have been implicated in the behavioral and motivational effects of alcohol and psychostimulants. Sigma receptor antagonists reduce the reinforcing effects of alcohol and excessive alcohol intake in both genetic (alcohol-preferring rats) and environmental (chronic alcohol-induced) models of alcoholism. The present study tested the hypothesis that pharmacological activation of Sigma receptors facilitates ethanol reinforcement and induces excessive, binge-like ethanol intake. The effects of repeated subcutaneous treatment with the selective Sigma receptor agonist 1,3-di-(2-tolyl)guanidine (DTG; 15 mg/kg, twice per day for 7 days) on operant ethanol (10%) self-administration were studied in Sardinian alcohol-preferring (sP) rats. To confirm that the effect of DTG was mediated by Sigma receptors, the effects of pretreatment with the selective Sigma receptor antagonist BD-1063 (7 mg/kg, s.c.) were determined. To assess the specificity of action, the effects of DTG on the self-administration of equally reinforcing solutions of saccharin or sucrose were also determined. Finally, gene expression of opioid receptors in brain areas implicated in ethanol reinforcement was analyzed in ethanol-naive sP rats treated acutely or repeatedly with DTG, due to the well-established role of the opioid system in alcohol reinforcement and addiction. Repeatedly administered DTG progressively and dramatically increased ethanol self-administration in sP rats and increased blood alcohol levels, which reached mean values close to 100 mg% in 1 h drinking sessions. Repeated DTG treatment also increased the rats’ motivation to work for alcohol under a progressive-ratio schedule of reinforcement. BD-1063 prevented the effects of DTG, confirming that Sigma receptors mediate the effects of DTG. Repeated DTG treatment also increased the self-administration of the non-drug reinforcers saccharin and sucrose. Naive sP rats repeatedly treated with DTG showed increased mRNA expression of μ and δ opioid receptors in the ventral tegmental area. These results suggest a key facilitatory role for Sigma receptors in the reinforcing effects of alcohol and identify a potential mechanism that contributes to binge-like and excessive drinking.
Alcohol & alcoholism; addiction & substance abuse; psychopharmacology; neuropharmacology; sigma receptor agonist; alcohol OR ethanol; dependence; alcohol-preferring; self-administration; binge-like OR binge
Sigma (σ) receptors have been implicated in the behavioral and motivational effects of alcohol and psychostimulants. Sigma receptor antagonists reduce the reinforcing effects of alcohol and excessive alcohol intake in both genetic (alcohol-preferring rats) and environmental (chronic alcohol-induced) models of alcoholism. The present study tested the hypothesis that pharmacological activation of σ-receptors facilitates ethanol reinforcement and induces excessive, binge-like ethanol intake. The effects of repeated subcutaneous treatment with the selective σ-receptor agonist 1,3-di-(2-tolyl)guanidine (DTG; 15 mg/kg, twice a day for 7 days) on operant ethanol (10%) self-administration were studied in Sardinian alcohol-preferring (sP) rats. To confirm that the effect of DTG was mediated by σ-receptors, the effects of pretreatment with the selective σ-receptor antagonist BD-1063 (7 mg/kg, subcutaneously) were determined. To assess the specificity of action, the effects of DTG on the self-administration of equally reinforcing solutions of saccharin or sucrose were also determined. Finally, gene expression of opioid receptors in brain areas implicated in ethanol reinforcement was analyzed in ethanol-naive sP rats treated acutely or repeatedly with DTG, because of the well-established role of the opioid system in alcohol reinforcement and addiction. Repeatedly administered DTG progressively and dramatically increased ethanol self-administration in sP rats and increased blood alcohol levels, which reached mean values close to 100 mg% in 1 h drinking sessions. Repeated DTG treatment also increased the rats' motivation to work for alcohol under a progressive-ratio schedule of reinforcement. BD-1063 prevented the effects of DTG, confirming that σ-receptors mediate the effects of DTG. Repeated DTG treatment also increased the self-administration of the non-drug reinforcers saccharin and sucrose. Naive sP rats repeatedly treated with DTG showed increased mRNA expression of μ- and δ-opioid receptors in the ventral tegmental area. These results suggest a key facilitatory role for σ-receptors in the reinforcing effects of alcohol and identify a potential mechanism that contributes to binge-like and excessive drinking.
alcohol & alcoholism; addiction & substance abuse; alcohol OR ethanol; dependence; self-administration; binge-like OR binge; alcohol & alcoholism; addiction & substance abuse; psychopharmacology; neuropharmacology; sigma receptor agonist; alcohol or ethanol; dependence; alcohol-preferring; self-administration
Alcohol dependence is a complex psychiatric disorder demanding development of novel pharmacotherapies. Since the cyclic AMP (cAMP) signaling cascade has been implicated in mediating behavioral responses to alcohol, key components in this cascade may serve as potential treatment targets. Phosphodiesterase 4 (PDE4), an enzyme that specifically catalyzes the hydrolysis of cAMP, represents as a key point in regulating intracellular cAMP levels. Thus, it was of interest to determine whether PDE4 was involved in the regulation of alcohol use and abuse.
Male Fawn-Hooded (FH/Wjd) rats were tested for 5% (v/v) ethanol and 10% (w/v) sucrose operant oral self-administration following treatment with the selective PDE4 inhibitor rolipram (0.0125, 0.025, or 0.05 mg/kg, s.c.); rolipram at higher doses (0.05, 0.1, and 0.2 mg/kg, s.c.) was tested to determine its impact on the intake of ethanol, sucrose, or water using the two-bottle choice drinking paradigm. Subsequent open-field testing was performed to evaluate the influence of higher doses of rolipram on locomotor activity.
Acute administration of rolipram dose-dependently reduced operant self-administration of 5% ethanol, but had no effect on 10% sucrose responding. Time-course assessment revealed significant decreases in ethanol consumption after rolipram (0.1, 0.2 mg/kg) treatment in continuous- and intermittent-access to ethanol at 5% or 10%, respectively. Moreover, chronic rolipram treatment time-dependently decreased 5% ethanol consumption and preference during treatment days and after the termination of rolipram administration. Rolipram at the highest doses (0.1 and 0.2 mg/kg) did decrease locomotor activity, but the effect lasted only 10 and 20 min, respectively, which did not likely alter long-term ethanol drinking.
These results suggest that PDE4 plays a role in alcohol seeking and consumption behavior. Drugs interfering with PDE4 may be a potential pharmacotherapy for alcohol dependence.
Cyclic AMP Signaling; Phosphodiesterase-4 (PDE4); Rolipram; FH/Wjd Rat; Ethanol Intake
Ethanol craving plays a major role in relapse drinking behavior. Relapse and ethanol craving are an important focus for the treatment of alcoholism. The ethanol deprivation effect (EDE) is a widely used animal model of alcohol craving. While the EDE is widely studied in rats, the molecular mechanisms underlying EDE are not clearly understood. The C57BL/6 inbred mouse strain is widely used for behavioral and molecular analyses of ethanol drinking but studies on the EDE have not been reported in this strain. In the present study, we characterized a simple behavioral protocol that rapidly and reliably induced EDE in C57BL/6 mice. Briefly, single-housed adult male C57BL/6NCrl and C57BL/6J mice were presented at the beginning of dark phase with two-bottle choice drinking containing either 10 % w/v ethanol or tap water for 18-hrs/day, as well as food ad libitum. Following ethanol drinking for 4 days or 14-days, mice were deprived of ethanol for a period of 4 days. To study EDE, mice were reinstated with two-bottles containing either ethanol (10 % w/v) or water. Mice were exposed to single or multiple ethanol deprivation cycles. Ethanol consumption (g/kg/18-hrs) and percent ethanol preference (% preference/18-hrs) was recorded for individual mice. C57BL/6NCrl mice consumed moderate amounts (4.78 ± 0.63 g/kg) of ethanol but showed robust EDE after ethanol drinking episodes (4 days or 14 days) as evidenced by increased ethanol consumption and ethanol preference following re-instatement of ethanol. While repeated ethanol deprivation in C57BL/6NCrl mice transiently increased ethanol consumption and ethanol preference, the magnitude of these behaviors was reduced as compared to the first deprivation cycle. In contrast, the C57BL/6J substrain consumed substantially higher levels (9.65 ± 0.90 g/kg) of ethanol but did not show a clear EDE after single or multiple ethanol deprivation cycles. In conclusion, we established a simple and reliable behavioral model to study EDE in C57BL/6NCrl mice. A reliable behavioral model to study EDE in inbred C57BL/6NCrl mice could greatly facilitate further studies on molecular mechanisms of ethanol craving behavior.
ethanol; ethanol-deprivation effect; ethanol-preference; craving
Using adult C57BL/6J (B6) mice, we previously developed a procedure that causes a progressive increase in ethanol intake and preference (i.e., alcohol escalation effect) following weekly (intermittent) access to ethanol (Melendez et al. Alcohol Clin Exp Res 30, 2006). A limitation of this procedure is that it requires many weeks of testing, which limits its use to study ethanol escalation (i.e., binge-like drinking) during adolescence. Previous studies have shown that intermittent every-other-day (EOD) access to ethanol is sufficient to induce ethanol escalation in rats. The objective of this study was to verify if EOD access is sufficient to induce escalated levels of ethanol intake and preference in adult and adolescent B6 mice.
Male B6 mice received free-choice 24 hr access to 15% ethanol and water on an EOD or daily basis for 2 weeks. Food and water was available at all times. Using adult mice, Experiment 1 characterized the induction of ethanol escalation following EOD access at 6 (i.e., drinking in the dark) and 24 hr intervals, whereas Experiment 2 determined if daily drinking reverses escalation induced by EOD drinking. Experiment 3 compared ethanol-drinking capacity following daily versus EOD drinking in adolescent (P30–45) and adult (P70–85) mice.
Experiment 1 revealed that EOD drinking leads to a significant (nearly two-fold) increase in ethanol intake and preference over mice given daily access. Experiment 2 demonstrated that EOD-elicited escalation is blocked and subsequently reversed following daily drinking. Experiment 3 revealed that ethanol drinking was greater in adolescent mice compared to adults following daily drinking and EOD (escalated) drinking. Although the escalated levels of ethanol intake were greater in adolescent mice, the rate or onset of escalation was comparable between both age groups.
This study is the first to demonstrate that EOD drinking leads to escalation of ethanol intake and preference in adolescent and adult mice. Moreover, our results indicate that daily ethanol reverses ethanol escalation induced by intermittent drinking. The study also revealed that adolescent mice have a greater capacity to drink ethanol under both daily (controlled) and EOD (escalated) conditions, which further supports the notion of adolescent’s susceptibility to heavy drinking.
ethanol escalation; high alcohol preference; adolescent drinking
In outbred rats, increases in brain neuropeptide Y (NPY) activity suppress ethanol consumption in a variety of access conditions, but only following a history of ethanol dependence. NPY reliably suppresses ethanol drinking in alcohol-preferring (P) rats and this effect is augmented following a period of ethanol abstinence. The purpose of this experiment was to examine the effects of NPY on 2-bottle choice ethanol drinking and feeding in Wistar rats that had undergone chronic ethanol vapor exposure, cycles of ethanol abstinence, or both. Ethanol-drinking Wistars were given six weeks of access to 15% (v/v) ethanol and water followed by either: two cycles of one week ethanol vapor exposure and two weeks with no ethanol; two cycles of one week ethanol bottle availability and two weeks with no ethanol; or two weeks of ethanol vapor exposure. Rats were infused ICV with one of four NPY doses (0.0, 2.5, 5.0, or 10.0 µg) following the ethanol exposure patterns described above, and tested for ethanol drinking and feeding in a 2-bottle choice situation. NPY dose-dependently increased food intake regardless of ethanol exposure history, but suppressed ethanol drinking only in rats that underwent cycles of ethanol access and ethanol abstinence. These results support the notion that dysregulation of brain NPY systems during chronic intermittent ethanol exposure is important in the motivational drive for subsequent relapse to ethanol drinking.
Neuropeptide Y; Dependence; Ethanol Vapor; Ethanol Abstinence
We have developed an animal model of alcohol self-administration that initially employs schedule-induced polydipsia (SIP) to establish reliable ethanol consumption under open access (22 h/d) conditions with food and water concurrently available. SIP is an adjunctive behavior that is generated by constraining access to an important commodity (e.g., flavored food). The induction schedule and ethanol polydipsia generated under these conditions affords the opportunity to investigate the development of drinking typologies that lead to chronic, excessive alcohol consumption.
Adult male cynomolgus monkeys (Macaca fascicularis) were induced to drink water and 4% (w/v in water) ethanol by a Fixed-Time 300 seconds (FT-300 seconds) schedule of banana-flavored pellet delivery. The FT-300 seconds schedule was in effect for 120 consecutive sessions, with daily induction doses increasing from 0.0 to 0.5 g/kg to 1.0 g/kg to 1.5 g/kg every 30 days. Following induction, the monkeys were allowed concurrent access to 4% (w/v) ethanol and water for 22 h/day for 12 months.
Drinking typographies during the induction of drinking 1.5 g/kg ethanol emerged that were highly predictive of the daily ethanol intake over the next 12 months. Specifically, the frequency in which monkeys ingested 1.5 g/kg ethanol without a 5-minute lapse in drinking (defined as a bout of drinking) during induction strongly predicted (correlation 0.91) subsequent ethanol intake over the next 12 months of open access to ethanol. Blood ethanol during induction were highly correlated with intake and with drinking typography and ranged from 100 to 160 mg% when the monkeys drank their 1.5 g/kg dose in a single bout. Forty percent of the population became heavy drinkers (mean daily intakes >3.0 g/kg for 12 months) characterized by frequent “spree” drinking (intakes >4.0 g/kg/d).
This model of ethanol self-administration identifies early alcohol drinking typographies (gulping the equivalent of 6 drinks) that evolve into chronic heavy alcohol consumption in primates (drinking the equivalent of 16 to 20 drinks per day). The model may aid in identifying biological risks for establishing harmful alcohol drinking.
Monkeys; Self-Administration; Ethanol; Schedule-Induced Polydipsia; Animal Models
The central nucleus of the amygdala (CeA) has been implicated as having a significant role in mediating alcohol-drinking behavior. Neuropeptide Y (NPY) has been investigated as a potential pharmacotherapeutic due to its ability to attenuate ethanol intake, particularly when administered into the CeA. Previous research suggests, though the evidence is somewhat conflicting, that the efficacy of NPY is contingent upon genetic background and/or prior history of ethanol dependence in rats. However, studies looking at the effects of NPY in nonselected animals lacking a history of ethanol dependence have two factors that could impact the interpretation of the results: ethanol history/selection AND relatively low baseline ethanol intakes as compared to ethanol-dependent and/or genetically selected controls. The purpose of the present study was to generate higher baseline ethanol intakes upon which to examine the effects of NPY on ethanol and sucrose drinking in nonselected rats using a binge drinking model. Long Evans rats were trained to complete a single response requirement resulting in access to either 2% sucrose (Sucrose Group) or 2% sucrose/10% ethanol (Ethanol Group) for a 20-min drinking session. On treatment days, rats were bilaterally microinjected into the CeA with aCSF or one of three doses of NPY (0.25ug, 0.50ug, or 1.00ug/.5uL). Subjects in the Ethanol Group were consuming an average of 1.2 g/kg of ethanol (yielding BELs of ~90mg%) during the 20 minute access period following aCSF treatments. The results revealed that NPY had no effect on either sucrose or ethanol consumption or on appetitive responding (latency to respond). Overall, the findings indicate that even a history of binge-like ethanol consumption is not sufficient to recruit CeA NPY activity, and are consistent with previous studies showing that the role of NPY in regulating ethanol reinforcement in the CeA may be contingent upon a prior history of ethanol dependence.
Neuropeptide Y; Central Nucleus of the Amygdala; ethanol consumption; sipper-tube model
Alcohol abuse disorders emerge over time with repeated consumption of ethanol, but not all ethanol drinkers develop these disorders. There are pre-existing characteristics that indicate which drinkers are most likely to abuse alcohol. Adolescence, novelty seeking, and high stress reactivity are among the characteristics of the most vulnerable individuals. In addition, an individual’s response to his or her first exposure to the drug influences future consumption. We assessed an array of behavioral and hormonal characteristics in adolescent (28-day-old) male rats before exposure to ethanol, and then determined which rats were most prone to high levels of alcohol drinking.
The assessments consisted of measures of anxiety (elevated plus maze), response to novelty (open field locomotion, novel object exploration), and circulating corticosterone levels after mild restraint and after the elevated plus maze task. After this test battery, the rats were placed in lickometer cages nightly (5 pm to 9 am) for evaluation of fluid consumption. Rats were first habituated to the cages with water in the lickometer bottles, and then given 10% (v/v) ethanol for 3 nights as the only available fluid. After this forced ethanol exposure, the rats were allowed to choose between 8% ethanol and water for 10 consecutive nights. After 2 nights of abstinence, the rats were again placed in the lickometer cages and given a choice between 8% ethanol and water to assess ethanol consumption in response to alcohol deprivation, a measure of relapse-like behavior.
Ethanol consumption on the third day of forced consumption was significantly correlated with ethanol consumption on days 8 to 10 of the choice phase, which in turn was significantly correlated to relapse-like consumption. Preference for ethanol was also significantly correlated with early consumption. Novel object exploration, open field activity, open arm time in the elevated plus maze, initial water consumption, and circulating corticosterone levels did not significantly predict deprivation-stimulated consumption.
These results suggest that consumption during early exposure to ethanol establishes a pattern leading to development of increased alcohol consumption and preference in adolescent male rats. In addition, they represent an animal model of the well-described observation that humans who consume large quantities of ethanol during early exposure are the most likely to repeat heave drinking behavior. Furthermore, early consumption is distinct from novelty seeking, anxiety, and stress hormone levels which are also thought to contribute to vulnerability to alcoholism.
Alcohol; Drinking; Behavior; Anxiety; Postdeprivation Effect