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Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 2004 Oct;14(5):355-60.

Time-dependent changes in alcohol-seeking behaviour during abstinence.

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Department of Pharmacology, Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology, 9 Sobieskiego St., PL-02957 Warsaw, Poland.


Exposure of alcohol addicts to alcohol-related environmental cues may elicit alcohol-seeking behaviour even after protracted abstinence. The purpose of the present study was to assess time-dependent changes in alcohol-seeking behaviour in rats trained to respond for alcohol. The rats were re-exposed to alcohol-associated stimuli after 1, 28 or 56 days of withdrawal. During the re-exposure session, the rats were first allowed to respond in extinction. Then, reinstatement of alcohol-seeking behaviour was evoked by a complex of discrete alcohol-associated cues (auditory and light cues combined with taste and smell of alcohol). Extinction behaviour depended on abstinence duration with maximal responding after 28-day abstinence. Reinstatement of alcohol-seeking behaviour evoked by the discrete cues was highest after 56-day abstinence. No correlations were found between individual alcohol intakes, extinction behaviour and cue-induced reinstatement. These results suggest that: (i) alcohol-seeking behaviour may become more intense after long-term imposed abstinence; (ii) alcohol self-administration, extinction behaviour, and reinstatement of alcohol-seeking behaviour may be regulated by separate neural mechanisms.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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