This article represents the proceedings of a symposium at the 2004 annual meeting of the International Society for Biomedical Research on Alcoholism in Heidelberg, Germany. The symposium was organized by Zachary A. Rodd and Giancarlo Colombo. The presentations were (1) Pharmacological reversal of cycled withdrawal-sensitized or stress-sensitized withdrawal anxiety and enhanced ethanol drinking, by Darin J. Knapp and George R. Breese, (2) Alcohol craving and relapse in rats genetically selected for high alcohol preference, by Zachary A. Rodd and Richard L. Bell, (3) Exposure to stress increases dopaminergic burst firing in awake rats, by Kristin Anstrom and Donald J. Woodward, (4) Involvement of cannabinoid CB1 and GABAB receptors in the control of relapse-like drinking in alcohol-preferring Sardinian alcohol-preferring rats by Giancarlo Colombo and Salvatore Serra, and (5) Stress-induced ethanol drinking in CB1−/−, POMC, and PENK knockout mice, by Idiko Racz and Andreas Zimmer.
Alcohol Relapse; Alcohol Withdrawal; Alcohol Reinforcement; Alcohol Pharmacotherapeutics
The objective of this study was to determine if there are common innate differences in gene expression or gene pathways in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) among 5 different pairs of rat lines selectively bred for high (HEC) or low (LEC) ethanol consumption: (a) alcohol-preferring (P) vs. alcohol-non-preferring (NP) rats; (b) high-alcohol-drinking (HAD) vs. low-alcohol-drinking (LAD) rats (replicate line pairs 1 and 2); (c) ALKO alcohol (AA) vs. nonalcohol (ANA) rats; and (d) Sardinian alcohol-preferring (sP) vs. alcohol-nonpreferring (sNP) rats. Microarray analysis revealed between 370 and 1340 unique named genes that significantly differed in expression between the individual line-pairs. Analysis using Gene Ontology (GO) and Ingenuity Pathways information indicated significant categories and networks in common for up to 3 line-pairs, but not for all 5 line-pairs; moreover, there were few genes in common in these categories and networks. ANOVA of the combined data for the 5 line-pairs indicated 1,295 significant (p < 0.01) differences in expression of named genes. Although no individual named gene was significant across all 5 line-pairs, there were 22 genes that overlapped in the same direction in 3 or 4 of the line-pairs. Overall, the findings suggest that (a) some biological categories or networks may be in common for subsets of line-pairs; and (b) regulation of different genes and/or combinations of multiple biological systems (e.g., transcription, synaptic function, intracellular signaling and protection against oxidative stress) within the VTA (possibly involving dopamine and glutamate) may be contributing to the disparate alcohol drinking behaviors of these line-pairs.
gene expression; ventral tegmental area; selectively-bred rat lines; alcohol-preferring; Alko alcohol; high-alcohol-drinking; Sardinian alcohol-preferring
Alcohol binge-drinking, especially among adolescents and young adults, is a serious public health concern. The present study examined ethanol binge-like drinking by peri-adolescent [postnatal days (PNDs 30—72)] and adult (PNDs 90—132) alcohol-preferring (P) rats with a drinking-in-the-dark—multiple-scheduled-acces (DID-MSA) procedure used by our laboratory. Male and female P rats were provided concurrent access to 15% and 30% ethanol for three 1-hr sessions across the dark cycle 5 days/week. For the 1st week, adolescent and adult female P rats consumed 3.4 and 1.6 g/kg of ethanol, respectively, during the 1st hr of access, whereas for male rats the values were 3.5 and 1.1 g/kg of ethanol, respectively. Adult intakes increased to ~2.0 g/kg/hr and adolescent intakes decreased to ~2.5 g/kg/hr across the 6 weeks of ethanol access. The daily ethanol intake of adult DID-MSA rats approximated or modestly exceeded that seen in continuous access (CA) rats or the selection criterion for P rats (≥ 5g/kg/day). However, in general, the daily ethanol intake of DID-MSA peri-adolescent rats significantly exceeded that of their CA counterparts. BELs were assessed at 15-min intervals across the 3rd hr of access during the 4th week. Ethanol intake was 1.7 g/kg vs. 2.7 g/kg and BELs were 57 mg% vs. 100 mg% at 15- and 60-min, respectively. Intoxication induced by DID-MSA in female P rats was assessed during the 1st vs. 4th week of ethanol access. Level of impairment did not differ between the 2 weeks (106 vs. 97 sec latency to fall, 120 sec criterion) and was significant (vs. naïve controls) only during the 4th week. Overall, these findings support the use of the DID-MSA procedure in rats, and underscore the presence of age- and sex-dependent effects mediating ethanol binge-like drinking in P rats.
Alcohol-Preferring rats; Motor ataxia; Alcohol drinking; Self-administration; Adolescence; Adulthood; Animal model; Selectively bred rats; Intoxication
Despite extensive description of the damaging effects of chronic alcohol exposure on brain structure, mechanistic explanations for the observed changes are just emerging. To investigate regional brain changes in protein expression levels following chronic ethanol treatment, one rat per sibling pair of male Wistar rats was exposed to intermittent (14 hr/day) vaporized ethanol, the other to air for 26 weeks. At the end of 24 weeks of vapor exposure, the ethanol group had blood ethanol levels averaging 450 mg %, had not experienced a protracted (>16 hr) withdrawal from ethanol, and revealed only mild evidence of hepatic steatosis. Extracted brains were micro-dissected to isolate the prefrontal cortex (PFC), dorsal striatum (STR), corpus callosum genu (CCg), CC body (CCb), anterior vermis (AV), and anterior dorsal lateral cerebellum (ADLC) for protein analysis with two-dimensional gel electrophoresis. Expression levels for 54 protein spots were significantly different between the ethanol- and air- treated groups. Of these 54 proteins, tandem mass spectroscopy successfully identified 39 unique proteins, the levels of which were modified by ethanol treatment: 13 in the PFC, 7 in the STR, 2 in the CCg, 7 in the CCb, 7 in the AV, and 5 in the ADLC. The functions of the proteins altered by chronic ethanol exposure were predominately associated with neurotransmitter systems in the PFC and cell metabolism in the STR. Stress response proteins were elevated only in the PFC, AV, and ADLC perhaps supporting a role for frontocerebellar circuitry disruption in alcoholism. Of the remaining proteins, some had functions associated with cytoskeletal physiology (e.g., in the CCb) and others with transcription/translation (e.g., in the ADLC). Considered collectively, all but 4 of the 39 proteins identified in the present study have been previously identified in ethanol gene- and/or protein- expression studies lending support for their role in ethanol-related brain alterations.
Vapor Chambers; Proteomics; Frontocerebellar Circuitry
Aims: Changes in glutamatergic transmission affect many aspects of neuroplasticity associated with ethanol and drug addiction. For instance, ethanol- and drug-seeking behavior is promoted by increased glutamate transmission in key regions of the motive circuit. We hypothesized that because glutamate transporter 1 (GLT1) is responsible for the removal of most extracellular glutamate, up-regulation or activation of GLT1 would attenuate ethanol consumption. Methods: Alcohol-preferring (P) rats were given 24 h/day concurrent access to 15 and 30% ethanol, water and food for 7 weeks. During Week 6, P rats received either 25, 50, 100 or 200 mg/kg ceftriaxone (CEF, i.p.), a β-lactam antibiotic known to elevate GLT1 expression, or a saline vehicle for five consecutive days. Water intake, ethanol consumption and body weight were measured daily for 15 days starting on Day 1 of injections. We also tested the effects of CEF (100 and 200 mg/kg, i.p.) on daily sucrose (10%) consumption as a control for motivated behavioral drinking. Results: Statistical analyses revealed a significant reduction in daily ethanol, but not sucrose, consumption following CEF treatment. During the post treatment period, there was a recovery of ethanol intake across days. Dose-dependent increases in water intake were manifest concurrent with the CEF-induced decreases in ethanol intake. Nevertheless, CEF did not affect body weight. An examination of a subset of the CEF-treated ethanol-drinking rats, on the third day post CEF treatment, revealed increases in GTL1 expression levels within the prefrontal cortex and nucleus accumbens. Conclusions: These results indicate that CEF effectively reduces ethanol intake, possibly through activation of GLT1, and may be a potential therapeutic drug for alcohol addiction treatment.
Brain cell loss has been reported in subjects with alcoholism. However, the molecular mechanisms are unclear. Glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) and monoamine oxidase B (MAO B) reportedly play a role in cellular dysfunction with regards to ethanol exposure. We have recently reported that GAPDH protein expression was increased in the brains of rats fed with ethanol. Furthermore, GAPDH interacts with the transcriptional activator, transforming growth factor-beta-inducible early gene 2 (TIEG2), to augment TIEG2-mediated MAO B activation, resulting in neuronal cell damage due to ethanol exposure. The current study investigates whether the TIEG2–MAO B cascade is also active in the brains of rats fed with ethanol. Ten ethanol-preferring rats were fed with a liquid diet containing ethanol, with increasing amounts of ethanol up to a final concentration of 6.4% representing a final diet containing 36% of calories for 28 days. Ten control rats were fed the liquid diet without ethanol. The expression of TIEG2 protein, MAO B mRNA levels, MAO B catalytic activity, and the levels of anti-apoptotic protein Bcl 2 and apoptotic protein caspase 3 were determined in the prefrontal cortex of the rats. Ethanol significantly increased protein levels of TIEG2, active caspase 3, MAO B mRNA and enzyme activity, but significantly decreased Bcl 2 protein expression compared to control rats. In summary, ethanol increases the TIEG2–MAO B brain cell death cascade in rat brains, suggesting that the TIEG2–MAO B pathway is a novel pathway for brain cell damage resulting from ethanol exposure, and may contribute to chronic alcohol-induced brain damage.
Alcoholism; Ethanol-preferring rats; Transforming growth factor-beta-inducible early gene 2; Monoamine oxidase B; Apoptosis; Bcl 2; Active caspase 3; Cell death pathway
If people are brought into the laboratory and given alcohol, there are pronounced differences among individuals in many responses to the drug. Some participants in alcohol challenge protocols show a cluster of “low level of responses to alcohol,” determined by observing post-drinking related changes in subjective, motor and physiological effects at a given dose level. Those individuals characterized as having low Level of Response (LR) to alcohol have been shown to be at increased risk for a lifetime diagnosis of alcohol dependence (AD), and this relationship between low LR and AD appears to be in part genetic. LR to alcohol is an area where achieving greater consilience between the human and rodent phenotypes would seem to be highly likely. However, despite extensive data from both human and rodent studies, few attempts have been made to evaluate the human and animal data systematically in order to understand which aspects of LR appear to be most directly comparable across species and thus the most promising for further study. We review four general aspects of LR that could be compared between humans and laboratory animals: 1) behavioral measures of subjective intoxication; 2) body sway; 3) endocrine responses; and 4) stimulant, autonomic and electrophysiological responses. None of these aspects of LR provide completely face-valid direct comparisons across species. Nevertheless, one of the most replicated findings in humans is the low subjective response, but, as it may reflect either aversively-valenced and/or positively-valenced responses to alcohol as usually assessed, it is unclear which rodent responses are analogous. Stimulated heart rate appears to be consistent in animal and human studies, although at-risk subjects appear to be more, rather than less sensitive to alcohol using this measure. The hormone and electrophysiological data offer strong possibilities of understanding the neurobiological mechanisms, but the rodent data in particular are rather sparse and unsystematic. Therefore, we suggest that more effort is still needed to collect data using refined measures designed to be more directly comparable in humans and animals. Additionally, the genetically mediated mechanisms underlying this endophenotype need to be characterized further across species.
The objective of this study was to determine time-course changes in gene expression within two regions of the extended amygdala following binge-like alcohol drinking by alcohol-preferring (P) rats. Adult male P rats were given 1-hr access to 15 and 30% ethanol three times daily for 8 weeks. Rats (n = 10/time point for ethanol and n = 6/time point for water) were killed by decapitation 1, 6 and 24 hr after the last drinking episode. RNA was prepared from individual micropunch samples of the nucleus accumbens shell (ACB-shell) and central nucleus of the amygdala (CeA); analyses were conducted with Affymetrix Rat 230.2 chips. Ethanol intakes were 1.5–2 g/kg for each of the 3 sessions. There were no genes that were statistically different between the ethanol and water groups at any individual time point. Therefore, an overall effect, comparing the water and ethanol groups, was determined. In the ACB-shell and CeA, there were 276 and 402 probe sets for named genes, respectively, that differed between the two groups. There were 1.5- to 3.6- fold more genes with increased than decreased expression in the ethanol drinking group, with most differences between 1.1- to 1.2-fold. Among the differences between the ethanol and water groups were several significant Biological Processes categories that were in common between the 2 regions (e.g., synaptic transmission, neurite development); however, within these categories, there were few genes in common between the two regions. Overall, the results indicate that binge-like alcohol drinking by P rats produces region-dependent changes in the expression of genes that could alter transcription, synaptic function and neuronal plasticity in the ACB-shell and CeA; within each region, different mechanisms may underlie these alterations, since there were few common ethanol-responsive genes between the ACB-shell and CeA.
alcohol-preferring rat; binge-like alcohol drinking; nucleus accumbens shell; central nucleus of the amygdala; gene expression; microarrays
Neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) are implicated in the reinforcing effects of many drugs of abuse, including ethanol. The present study examined the efficacy of cytisine, a nAChR partial agonist, and lobeline, a putative nAChR antagonist, on the maintenance of ethanol drinking by HAD-2 rats. Adult male HAD-2 rats were given access to ethanol (15% and 30%, with ad lib water and food) 22 hr per day for 12 weeks, beginning at 60 days old, after which cytisine (0.0, 0.5 and 1.5 mg/kg) was tested for 3 consecutive days. The rats were given an 18 day wash-out period, and were then tested with lobeline (0.0, 1.0 and 5.0 mg/kg) for 3 consecutive days. Ethanol intake was measured at 1, 4 and 22 hours post-injection. Rats were injected i.p. just prior to lights out (1200 h). There was a significant main effect of cytisine treatment on the 2nd test day, with the 1.5 mg/kg dose significantly reducing ethanol intake at the 1 hr and 4 hr time-points, relative to saline, and the 0.5 mg/kg dose inducing a significant reduction at the 4 hr time-point. Conversely, lobeline treatment resulted in significant main effects of treatment for all 3 time points, within each test day, with the 5.0 mg/kg dose significantly reducing ethanol intake, relative to saline, at each time-point within each test day. These findings provide further evidence that activity at the nAChR influences ethanol intake and is a promising target for pharmacotherapy development for the treatment of alcohol dependence and relapse.
Drug Addiction; Nicotinic receptor; Alcohol consumption; High-alcohol-consuming rats; Selectively bred rats; Cytisine; Lobeline
The objective of this study was to determine the effects of binge-like alcohol drinking on gene expression changes in the nucleus accumbens (ACB) of alcohol-preferring (P) rats. Adult male P rats were given ethanol under multiple scheduled access (MSA; three 1-hr dark-cycle sessions/day) conditions for 8 weeks. For comparison purposes, a second ethanol drinking group was given continuous/daily alcohol access (CA; 24 hr/day). A third group was ethanol-naïve (W group). Average ethanol intakes for the CA and MSA groups were approximately 9.5 and 6.5 g/kg/day, respectively. Fifteen hr after the last drinking episode, rats were euthanized, the brains extracted, and the ACB dissected. RNA was extracted and purified for microarray analysis. The only significant differences were between the CA and W groups (p < 0.01; Storey false discovery rate = 0.15); there were 374 differences in named genes between these 2 groups. There were 20 significant Gene Ontology (GO) categories, which included negative regulation of protein kinase activity, anti-apoptosis, and regulation of G-protein-coupled receptor signaling. Ingenuity® analysis indicated a network of transcription factors, involving oncogenes (Fos, Jun, Junb had higher expression in the ACB of the CA group), suggesting increased neuronal activity. There were 43 genes located within rat QTLs for alcohol consumption and preference; 4 of these genes (Tgfa, Hspa5, Mtus1 and Creb3l2) are involved in anti-apoptosis and increased transcription, suggesting that they may be contributing to cellular protection and maintaining high alcohol intakes. Overall, these findings suggest that chronic CA drinking results in genomic changes that can be observed during the early acute phase of ethanol withdrawal. Conversely, chronic MSA drinking, with its associated protracted withdrawal periods, results in genomic changes that may be masked by tight regulation of these genes following repeated experiences of ethanol withdrawal.
Alcohol-Preferring rats; Nucleus accumbens; Gene Expression; Microarrays; Alcohol drinking; Self-administration; Ethanol responsive genes; Ethanol withdrawal
The orexin system has been hypothesized to regulate drug-seeking and drug self-administration behaviors, including ethanol (EtOH) seeking and consumption. However, studies on the effects of orexin receptor antagonists have not been conducted on robust alcohol-relapse behavior.
This study assessed the effects of the orexin-1 receptor antagonist, SB-334867, on alcohol-seeking behavior and responding for alcohol under relapse conditions.
Adult alcohol-preferring (P) rats self-trained in 2-lever operant chambers to administer 15% EtOH (vol/vol) on a fixed-ratio-5 and water on a fixed-ratio-1 schedule of reinforcement. After 10 weeks, rats underwent extinction training for 7 sessions. Animals were then maintained in their home cages for 2 weeks before being tested for Pavlovian Spontaneous Recovery (PSR; a measure of alcohol seeking) for 4 sessions. Rats were then allowed a week in their home cages before being returned to the operant chamber with access to EtOH and water (relapse). Thirty minutes before the PSR and relapse test sessions, rats received 0, 10, or 20 mg/kg SB-334867.
Responses on the EtOH lever during the 1st PSR test session were ~70 presses/session (3-fold higher than baseline); SB-334867 did not alter responses on the EtOH lever. Under relapse conditions, P rats increased responding on the EtOH lever from 250 (at baseline) to 350 responses/session; both doses of SD-334867 prevented this increase.
The results of this study suggest that activation of orexin-1 receptors is not involved in intrinsically initiated EtOH seeking, but may regulate the consummatory behavior of EtOH consumption.
ethanol reinforcement; alcohol seeking; Pavlovian Spontaneous Recovery; alcohol relapse
Homer proteins are constituents of scaffolding complexes that regulate the trafficking and function of central Group1 metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs) and N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors. Research supports the involvement of these proteins in ethanol-induced neuroplasticity in mouse. In this study, we examined the effects of short versus long-term withdrawal from chronic ethanol consumption on Homer and glutamate receptor protein expression within striatal and amygdala subregions of selectively bred, alcohol-preferring P rats.
For 6 months, male P rats had concurrent access to 15% and 30% ethanol solutions under intermittent (IA: 4 d/wk) or continuous (CA: 7 d/wk) access conditions in their home cage. Rats were killed 24 hours (short withdrawal: SW) or 4 weeks (long withdrawal: LW) after termination of ethanol access, subregions of interest were micropunched and tissue processed for detection of Group1 mGluRs, NR2 subunits of the NMDA receptor and Homer protein expression.
Within the nucleus accumbens (NAC), limited changes in NR2a and NR2b expression were detected in the shell (NACsh), whereas substantial changes were observed for Homer2a/b, mGluRs as well as NR2a and NR2b subunits in the core (NACc). Within the amygdala, no changes were detected in the basolateral subregion, whereas substantial changes, many paralleling those observed in the NACc, were detected in the central nucleus (CeA) subregion. In addition, most of the changes observed in the CeA, but not NACc, were present in both SW and LW rats.
Overall, these subregion specific, ethanol-induced increases in mGluR/Homer2/NR2 expression within the NAC and amygdala suggest changes in glutamatergic plasticity had taken place. This may be a result of learning and subsequent memory formation of ethanol’s rewarding effects in these brain structures, which may, in part, mediate the chronic relapsing nature of alcohol abuse.
Homer Proteins; Group1 Metabotropic Glutamate Receptors; NMDA Receptors; Nucleus Accumbens; Amygdala; Ethanol Consumption
High-alcohol-drinking rats, given access to 10% ethanol, expressed an alcohol deprivation effect (ADE) only after multiple deprivations. In alcohol-preferring (P) rats, concurrent access to multiple ethanol concentrations combined with repeated cycles of EtOH access and deprivation produced excessive ethanol drinking. The current study was undertaken to examine the effects of repeated alcohol deprivations with concurrent access to multiple concentrations of ethanol on ethanol intake of HAD replicate lines of rats. HAD-1 and HAD-2 rats received access to 10, 20 and 30% (v/v) ethanol for 6 weeks. Rats from each replicate line were assigned to: (1) a non-deprived group; (2) a group initially deprived of ethanol for 2 weeks; or (3) a group initially deprived for 8 weeks. Following the restoration of the ethanol solutions, cycle of 2 weeks of ethanol exposure and 2 weeks of alcohol deprivation was repeated three times for a total of four deprivations. Following the initial ethanol deprivation period, deprived groups significantly increased ethanol intakes during the initial 24-hour re-exposure period. Multiple deprivations increased ethanol intakes, shifted preference to higher ethanol concentrations and prolonged the duration of the elevated ethanol intakes for up to 5 days. In addition, repeated deprivations increased ethanol intake in the first 2-hour re-exposure period as high as 5–7 g/kg (which are equivalent to amounts consumed in 24 hours by HAD rats), and produced blood ethanol levels in excess of 150 mg%. The results indicate that HAD rats exhibit ‘loss-of-control’ of alcohol drinking with repeated deprivations when multiple ethanol concentrations are available.
Alcohol deprivation effect; alcohol relapse; high-alcohol-drinking rats; loss of control; multiple deprivations; sensitization
A previous study indicated that selectively bred alcohol-preferring (P) rats self-administered ethanol (EtOH) directly into the posterior ventral tegmental area at lower concentrations than Wistar rats. The present study was undertaken to determine involvement of the nucleus accumbens (Acb) with EtOH reinforcement, and a relationship between genetic selection for high alcohol preference and sensitivity of the Acb to the reinforcing effects of EtOH.
Adult P and Wistar rats were assigned to groups that self-infused 0 to 300 mg% EtOH into the Acb shell (AcbSh) or Acb Core (AcbC). Rats were placed into 2-lever (active and inactive) operant chambers and given EtOH for the first 4 sessions (acquisition), artificial cerebro-spinal fluid (aCSF) for sessions 5 and 6 (extinction), and EtOH again in session 7 (reinstatement). Responding on the active lever produced a 100-nl injection of the infusate.
Alcohol-preferring rats self-infused 75 to 300 mg% EtOH, whereas Wistar rats reliably self-infused 100 and 300 mg% EtOH into the AcbSh. Both P and Wistar rats reduced responding on the active lever when aCSF was substituted for EtOH, and reinstated responding in session 7 when EtOH was restored. EtOH was not self-infused into the AcbC by P or Wistar rats.
The present results indicate that the AcbSh, but not AcbC, is a neuroanatomical structure that mediates the reinforcing actions of EtOH. The data also suggest that, compared to Wistar rats, the AcbSh of P rats is more sensitive to the reinforcing effects of EtOH.
Intracranial Self-Administration; Nucleus Accumbens; Reinforcement; Alcohol-Preferring Rats; Ethanol
The present study examined changes in heart rate (HR) prior to and during limited access ethanol drinking in adult female P rats. P rats were implanted with radiotelemetric transmitters to measure HR. Daily testing involved a 90-min pre-test period (water only available) and a subsequent 90-min test period [either water (W) or ethanol available]. After a week of habituation, one ethanol group had access to ethanol for 7 weeks (CE), and another ethanol group had access for 4 weeks, was deprived for 2 weeks and then had access for a final week (DEP). Analyses of HR revealed that CE and DEP rats had significantly higher HR than W rats during test periods that ethanol was present and that DEP rats displayed higher HR during the early test period of the ethanol deprivation interval, as well. These data indicate that ethanol drinking induces HR activation in adult female P rats, and that this activation can be conditioned to the test cage environment, paralleling reports on contextual conditioning and cue-reactivity in alcoholics exposed to alcohol-associated stimuli. Therefore, this behavioral test may prove advantageous in screening pharmacotherapies for reducing craving and relapse, which are associated with cue-reactivity in abstinent alcoholics.
Alcohol; stimulation; activation; autonomic; cue reactivity; heart rate; alcohol-preferring rats; contextual conditioning
Alcoholics generally display cycles of excessive ethanol intake, abstinence and relapse behavior. Using an animal model of relapse-like drinking, the alcohol deprivation effect (ADE), our laboratory has shown that repeated 2-week cycles of ethanol deprivation and re-exposure, following an initial 6 week access period, result in a robust ADE by alcohol-preferring (P) and high alcohol-drinking (HAD-1 and HAD-2) rats. These rat lines have been selectively bred to prefer a 10% ethanol solution over water. The present study examined whether P and HAD rats would display an ADE using much shorter ethanol deprivation and re-exposure intervals. Rats were given either continuous or periodic concurrent access to multiple concentrations [10%, 20%, and 30%, volume/volume (vol./vol.)] of ethanol. The periodic protocol involved access to ethanol for 12 days followed by 4 cycles of 4 days of deprivation and 4 days of re-exposure to ethanol access. HAD rats displayed a robust 24 hour ADE upon 1st re-exposure (HAD-1: ~ 5 vs. 8 g/kg/day; HAD-2: ~ 6 vs. 9 g/kg/day, baseline vs. re-exposure), whereas P rats (~ 7 vs. 8 g/kg/day) displayed a modest, nonsignificant, increase in 24 hour intake. In a separate group of rats, ethanol intake and blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) after the 1st hour of the 4th re-exposure cycle were HAD-1: 2.0 g/kg and 97 mg%, HAD-2: 2.3 g/kg and 73 mg%, and P: 1.2 g/kg and 71 mg%; with all three lines displaying a robust 1st hour ADE. These findings suggest that (a) an ADE may be observed with short ethanol deprivation and re-exposure intervals in HAD rats, and (b) the genetic make-up of the P and HAD rats influences the expression of this ADE.
Alcohol deprivation effect; High-alcohol-consuming rats; Selectively bred rats; Adult
Studies from our laboratory indicated that local perfusion of the ventral tegmental area (VTA) with a serotonin-3 (5-HT3) receptor agonist increased dopamine (DA) neuronal activity and that the self-infusion of ethanol (EtOH) and cocaine into the posterior VTA could be inhibited with coadministration of a 5-HT3 receptor antagonist. The study tested the hypothesis that activating 5-HT3 receptors within the VTA produces reinforcing effects. The study also examined whether there were differences between Wistar rats and a line of rats selectively bred for high alcohol consumption with regard to the self-infusion of a 5-HT3 receptor agonist within the VTA. Adult female alcohol-preferring (P) and Wistar rats were allowed to self-infuse the 5-HT3 receptor agonist 1-(m-chlorophenyl)-biguanide (CPBG) into the posterior or anterior VTA. Furthermore, experiments examined the effects of coinfusion of the 5-HT3 antagonist ICS 205,930 (ICS), agonist quinpirole on the self-infusion of and the DA D2,3 CPBG. Both Wistar and P rats readily self-administered CPBG into the posterior, but not anterior, VTA. P rats self-infused lower concentrations of CPBG (0.10 μM) than did Wistar rats (1.0 μM). Coinfusion of either ICS or quinpirole reduced CPBG self-infusion into the posterior VTA. The results of this study suggest that activation of 5-HT3 receptors within the posterior VTA produces reinforcing effects and that these reinforcing effects are mediated through activation of DA neurons. Furthermore, the data suggest that selective breeding for alcohol-preference results in the posterior VTA being more sensitive to the reinforcing effects of CPBG.
The posterior ventral tegmental area (VTA) is a neuroanatomical substrate mediating the reinforcing effects of ethanol in rats. Repeated alcohol deprivations produce robust ethanol intakes of alcohol-preferring (P) rats during relapse and increase the reinforcing effects of oral alcohol self-administration. The objective of this study was to test the hypothesis that alcohol drinking and repeated alcohol deprivations will increase the reinforcing effects of ethanol within the posterior VTA of P rats. Groups of female P rats were used (alcohol-naive, continuous access, and repeatedly deprived). Each rat was implanted with a guide cannula aimed at the posterior VTA. Depression of the active lever produced the infusion of 100 nl of artificial cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) or ethanol (25–300 mg%). Each rat was given only one ethanol concentration during the 4-h sessions conducted every other day. Compared with the infusions of artificial CSF, the alcohol-naive group reliably self-infused 75 and 150 mg% ethanol, but not the lower or higher concentrations. On the other hand, the continuous access group had significantly higher self-infusions of 50, 75, 150, and 300 mg% ethanol compared with artificial CSF infusions. The repeatedly deprived group also self-infused significantly more of 50, 75, 150, and 300 mg% ethanol than artificial CSF; moreover, the number of infusions for all four concentrations was higher in the repeatedly deprived versus the continuous access group. Chronic alcohol drinking by P rats increased the reinforcing effects of ethanol within the posterior VTA, and repeated alcohol deprivations produced a further increase in these reinforcing effects of ethanol.
We have used a genetical genomic approach, in conjunction with phenotypic analysis of alcohol consumption, to identify candidate genes that predispose to varying levels of alcohol intake by HXB/BXH recombinant inbred rat strains. In addition, in two populations of humans, we assessed genetic polymorphisms associated with alcohol consumption using a custom genotyping array for 1,350 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Our goal was to ascertain whether our approach, which relies on statistical and informatics techniques, and non-human animal models of alcohol drinking behavior, could inform interpretation of genetic association studies with human populations.
In the HXB/BXH recombinant inbred (RI) rats, correlation analysis of brain gene expression levels with alcohol consumption in a two-bottle choice paradigm, and filtering based on behavioral and gene expression quantitative trait locus (QTL) analyses, generated a list of candidate genes. A literature-based, functional analysis of the interactions of the products of these candidate genes defined pathways linked to presynaptic GABA release, activation of dopamine neurons, and postsynaptic GABA receptor trafficking, in brain regions including the hypothalamus, ventral tegmentum and amygdala. The analysis also implicated energy metabolism and caloric intake control as potential influences on alcohol consumption by the recombinant inbred rats. In the human populations, polymorphisms in genes associated with GABA synthesis and GABA receptors, as well as genes related to dopaminergic transmission, were associated with alcohol consumption.
Our results emphasize the importance of the signaling pathways identified using the non-human animal models, rather than single gene products, in identifying factors responsible for complex traits such as alcohol consumption. The results suggest cross-species similarities in pathways that influence predisposition to consume alcohol by rats and humans. The importance of a well-defined phenotype is also illustrated. Our results also suggest that different genetic factors predispose alcohol dependence versus the phenotype of alcohol consumption.