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Behav Brain Res. 2003 May 15;141(2):113-22.

The effect of isolation rearing on volitional ethanol consumption and central CCK/dopamine systems in Fawn-Hooded rats.

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Department of Pharmacology, Monash University, P.O. Box 13E, Clayton, Vic. 3800, Australia.


Numerous studies have demonstrated that socially isolating rats (from weaning) produces a sustained anxious phenotype and an enhanced response to psychostimulant drugs such as amphetamine and cocaine. In addition, isolation rearing has been shown to induce significant changes in the mesolimbic dopamine system. These data indicate that isolation rearing not only induces an anxiogenic phenotype but also induces neurochemical changes in reward nuclei of the brain, which is correlated with an enhanced response to psychostimulants. For these reasons, the effect of isolation rearing on volitional ethanol consumption was examined in Fawn-Hooded (FH) rats and correlated with neurochemical changes in central dopamine and cholecystokinin systems. Social isolation from weaning produced an anxiogenic phenotype as measured by a decreased time spent on the open arms of an elevated plus-maze. Interestingly, isolation-rearing induced a greater proportion of FH rats to acquire preference for ethanol while having no effect on the amount of ethanol consumed by alcohol-preferring rats. In addition, isolation rearing induced a number of changes in central CCK/dopamine systems.

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