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Alcohol Alcohol Suppl. 1991;1:115-20.

Determinants of alcohol preference in the AA and ANA rat lines selected for differential ethanol intake.

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  • 1Research Laboratories, State Alcohol Company (Alko Ltd), Helsinki, Finland.


A selective breeding program conducted in this laboratory has resulted in the establishment of the alcohol-preferring AA (Alko Alcohol) and alcohol-avoiding ANA (Alko Nonalcohol) rat lines. These lines have been used as a tool for attempting to identify the behavioral, neurochemical, and biochemical correlates of differential voluntary ethanol consumption. Some of the differences that have been found between the lines involve differential reinforcement: AA rats, but not ANA rats, rapidly acquire an ethanol-reinforced operant response. The AA's greater development of tolerance to the depressant effects of ethanol and their faster ethanol metabolism would also allow them to drink more. Neurochemical studies have suggested differential functioning of brain monoaminergic mechanisms. The activity of tyrosine hydroxylase and dopa decarboxylase, and the brain dopamine concentrations are higher in the AA rats than in the ANA rats, and the maximal number of dopamine D2 receptors is lower in the AA rats. The concentration of noradrenaline is higher in the brain of ANA rats than in that of AA rats, while the 5-hydroxytryptamine levels do not seem to differ greatly. The importance of these differences to the line difference in ethanol intake is not, however, clear, since there appears to be no difference in the sensitivity of monoamine systems of the two lines to ethanol.

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