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Alcohol. 2014 May;48(3):235-41. doi: 10.1016/j.alcohol.2013.08.005. Epub 2013 Oct 29.

"Drinking in the dark" (DID) procedures: a model of binge-like ethanol drinking in non-dependent mice.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Davie Hall, CB #3270, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3270, USA; Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Davie Hall, CB #3270, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3270, USA. Electronic address: thiele@unc.edu.
2
Department of Psychology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Davie Hall, CB #3270, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3270, USA.

Abstract

This review provides an overview of an animal model of binge-like ethanol drinking that has come to be called "drinking in the dark" (DID), a procedure that promotes high levels of ethanol drinking and pharmacologically relevant blood ethanol concentrations (BECs) in ethanol-preferring strains of mice. Originally described by Rhodes, Best, Belknap, Finn, and Crabbe (2005), the most common variation of the DID procedure, using singly housed mice, involves replacing the water bottle with a bottle containing 20% ethanol for 2-4 h, beginning 3 h into the dark cycle. Using this procedure, high ethanol drinking strains of mice (e.g., C57BL/6J) typically consume enough ethanol to achieve BECs greater than 100 mg/dL and to exhibit behavioral evidence of intoxication. This limited access procedure takes advantage of the time in the animal's dark cycle in which the levels of ingestive behaviors are high, yet high ethanol intake does not appear to stem from caloric need. Mice have the choice of drinking or avoiding the ethanol solution, eliminating the stressful conditions that are inherent in other models of binge-like ethanol exposure in which ethanol is administered by the experimenter, and in some cases, potentially painful. The DID procedure is a high throughput approach that does not require extensive training or the inclusion of sweet compounds to motivate high levels of ethanol intake. The high throughput nature of the DID procedure makes it useful for rapid screening of pharmacological targets that are protective against binge-like drinking and for identifying strains of mice that exhibit binge-like drinking behavior. Additionally, the simplicity of DID procedures allows for easy integration into other paradigms, such as prenatal ethanol exposure and adolescent ethanol drinking. It is suggested that the DID model is a useful tool for studying the neurobiology and genetics underlying binge-like ethanol drinking, and may be useful for studying the transition to ethanol dependence.

KEYWORDS:

Binge-like; Blood–ethanol; Dependence; Drinking-in-the-dark; Ethanol; Intoxication

PMID:
24275142
PMCID:
PMC4004717
DOI:
10.1016/j.alcohol.2013.08.005
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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