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Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2001 Mar;68(3):449-54.

Conditioned stimulus preference after acetaldehyde but not ethanol injections.

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  • 1Biologie du Comportement, Universit√© Catholique de Louvain, Place Croix du Sud 1, 1348, Louvain-La-Neuve, Belgium. quertemont@bani.ucl.ac.be

Abstract

Acetaldehyde, the first ethanol metabolite, has been suggested to mediate some of the behavioral effects of ethanol and particularly its reinforcing properties, although this later hypothesis remains extremely controversial. While several studies demonstrated the reinforcing effects of brain acetaldehyde, blood acetaldehyde accumulation is believed to be primarily aversive. In the present study, a conditioned reinforcement procedure has been used to investigate the reinforcing and/or aversive effects of intraperitoneal injections of both acetaldehyde and ethanol in Wistar rats. An olfactory stimulus was paired with daily injections of either ethanol (0, 0.25, 0.5, 1 and 2 g/kg) or acetaldehyde (0, 10, 20, 100 and 150 mg/kg). After eight conditioning sessions, all rats were tested for their stimulus preference or aversion. The results show that conditioning with small, 0.25 and 0.5 g/kg, ethanol doses induced neither preference nor aversion for the olfactory cue. In contrast, higher ethanol doses (1.0 and 2.0 g/kg) resulted in significant stimulus aversions. Acetaldehyde conditioning led to a biphasic stimulus preference, with a maximal preference around 20 mg/kg acetaldehyde. No evidence of aversive effects was found with increasing doses of acetaldehyde, even with concentrations close to the lethal limit. The present study clearly shows that systemic acetaldehyde injections induced significant stimulus preferences. This suggests that acetaldehyde may be, at least in part, responsible for the reinforcing effects of alcohol intake.

PMID:
11325398
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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