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Int J Physiol Pathophysiol Pharmacol. 2015 Dec 13;7(3):136-44. eCollection 2015.

Chronic intermittent voluntary alcohol drinking induces hyperalgesia in Sprague-Dawley rats.

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Department of Anesthesiology, Pharmacology and Physiology, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, New Jersey Medical School Newark, NJ, USA.


The mechanisms of hyperalgesia in alcoholics are not completely clear, and the development of animal models would therefore be necessary in investigating the underlying changes. Several studies including our own have demonstrated that the intermittent access to 20% ethanol two-bottle choice procedure (IA2BC) promotes escalation of drinking, and induces physical dependence in the Sprague-Dawley (SD) rat, one of the strains most commonly used in preclinical alcohol research. In this study, we investigated whether the IA2BC procedure could produce hyperalgesia in SD rats. We show here that, the SD rats in the IA2BC procedure significantly escalated their drinking within 8 weeks, which is consistent with other studies. Starting from 8 weeks of repeated chronic drinking, the mechanical and thermal sensitivity was significantly increased. During withdrawal, there were noticeable physical dependence signs, including tail stiffness and lower limb flexion, which started at 4 hours and lasted for more than 3 days after ethanol removal. Importantly, during withdrawal, the mechanical and thermal sensitivity was further increased, which started at 12 hours and lasted for more than seven days after ethanol removal. These results suggest that utilizing the SD rat under the IA2BC procedure could be a useful animal model with heuristic value for exploring the mechanisms underlying hyperalgesia induced by chronic alcohol abuse.


Sprague-Dawley rat; pain; physical dependence; self-administration; withdrawal


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