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Addict Biol. 2004 Sep-Dec;9(3-4):265-71.

Strain-specific responses of inbred mice to ethanol following food shortage.

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Department of Psychopharmacology, Central Institute of Mental Health (CIMH), Mannheim, Germany.


Specific inbred mouse strains such as C57BL/6J and DBA/2J show differences in consumption of and reaction on drugs of abuse. For example, C57BL/6J mice voluntarily consume greater amounts of ethanol than DBA/2J mice. Recently, it could be shown that a short environmental experience--12 days of food shortage followed by a recovery period--has a strong impact on strain-specific reactions to amphetamine. The purpose of the present study was to examine whether food shortage experience has an effect on ethanol responses. The effect of a period of 12 days food restriction which resulted in a weight loss of 20% body weight and which was followed by a complete recovery period was studied on ethanol self-administration and ethanol-induced locomotor activity in C57BL/6Ico and DBA/2Ico inbred mouse strains. The experience of food shortage led to a higher ethanol intake and preference in C57BL/6Ico mice compared to control animals without food shortage experience. In contrast DBA/2Ico showed no difference in ethanol intake or preference following this experience. The effect of ethanol onto locomotor activity of both mice strains was affected only in the case of DBA/2Ico mice, where food shortage experience resulted in a significantly higher ethanol-induced locomotor activity. The present data show that in inbred mouse strains environmental experiences can have a strong impact onto the effects of ethanol. In conclusion, in the field of preclinical alcohol research gene x environment interactions in specific inbred mouse strains can contribute strongly to the outcome of studies and more specifically food shortage can profoundly affect the outcome of alcohol studies in mice.

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