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Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2003 Apr;75(1):223-33.

Flavor preferences conditioned by intragastric ethanol with limited access training.

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Brooklyn College and the Graduate School, City University of New York, 2900 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11210, USA.


In a prior study, ad libitum fed rats learned a strong preference (90%) for a flavored saccharin solution (conditioned stimulus, CS+) paired with concurrent intragastric (IG) infusions of 5% ethanol over another flavor (CS-) paired with water infusions in unlimited access sessions (22 h/day). The present study expanded the investigation of ethanol-conditioned preferences to limited access sessions (30 min/day). Experiment 1 revealed that ad lib or food-restricted rats failed to develop a CS+ preference using the same CS solutions (0.05% Kool-Aid+0.2% saccharin) and IG infusions that were effective with long-term training. Experiments 2 and 3 mimicked the parameters from a report of successful ethanol conditioning in deprived rats: ethanol (0.5 g/kg) or water was infused intragastrically 5 min before access to sweetened CS solutions flavored with HCl or NaCl. Rats learned to prefer the ethanol-paired CS+ when the flavors were mixed with 5% sucrose but not when mixed with 0.2% saccharin. Experiment 4 revealed that 5% sucrose solutions flavored with 0.25% Kool Aid also supported flavor preference conditioning by IG ethanol (0.5 g/kg). CS+ preferences were obtained in rats trained with ethanol infused 5 min before or concurrent with CS+ intake, but not in rats trained with ethanol infused 30 min before CS+ intake. These data confirm that flavor preferences can be conditioned by IG ethanol using a limited access procedure. However, in contrast to 22 h/day training, 30 min/day training requires more intense CS flavors and a nutritive sweetener. The preference reinforcing actions of ethanol may develop slowly and are thus most effective with long training sessions or when intense CS flavors are used in short training sessions.

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