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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1985 May; 82(10): 3469–3471.
PMCID: PMC397797

Toward an analogue of alcoholism in mice: criteria for recognition of pharmacologically motivated drinking.


Two criteria of alcoholic drinking behavior--inelasticity of demand and dissociation of intake from normal eating and drinking--are illustrated by study of alcohol-preferring C57BL/6J mice. Although these mice drink enough to become intoxicated for brief periods each night, they do not meet the more rigorous criteria for pharmacologically motivated drinking. Their intake of alcohol was dramatically decreased when they were offered diets augmented with sugar or Crisco, and the temporal pattern of drinking was correlated with the intake of food. Thus, their motivation for drinking alcohol is related to nutrition and is not drug-seeking comparable to that of human alcoholics. Since the tests are simple and decisive, it might be useful to apply them to all putative models of alcoholism.

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