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Behav Genet. 2009 Jan;39(1):62-72. doi: 10.1007/s10519-008-9232-1. Epub 2008 Oct 7.

Reduced oral ethanol avoidance in mice lacking transient receptor potential channel vanilloid receptor 1.

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Center for Behavioral Teratology, Department of Psychology, San Diego State University, 6363 Alvarado Ct., Ste. 200V, San Diego, CA 92120, USA.


Ethanol is a known oral trigeminal stimulant and recent data indicate that these effects are mediated in part by transient receptor potential channel vanilloid receptor 1 (TRPV1). The importance of this receptor in orally mediated ethanol avoidance is presently unknown. Here, we compared orosensory responding to ethanol in TRPV1-deficient and wild type mice in a brief-access paradigm that assesses orosensory influences by measuring immediate licking responses to small stimulus volumes. TRPV1(-/-) and control mice were tested with six concentrations of ethanol (3, 5, 10, 15, 25, 40%), capsaicin (0.003, 0.01, 0.03, 0.1, 0.3, 1 mM), sucrose (0.003, 0.01, 0.03, 0.1, 0.3, 1 M), and quinine (0.01, 0.03, 0.1, 0.3, 1, 3 mM) and psychophysical concentration-response functions were generated for each genotype and stimulus. TRPV1 knockouts displayed reduced oral avoidance responses to ethanol regardless of concentration, insensitivity to capsaicin, and little to no difference in sweet or bitter taste responding relative to wild type mice. These data indicate that the TRPV1 channel plays a role in orosensory-mediated ethanol avoidance, but that other receptor mechanisms likely also contribute to aversive oral responses to alcohol.

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