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Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2017 Jul;234(13):2009-2018. doi: 10.1007/s00213-017-4608-7. Epub 2017 Mar 24.

Voluntary induction and maintenance of alcohol dependence in rats using alcohol vapor self-administration.

Author information

1
Department of Neuroscience, The Scripps Research Institute, 10550 North Torrey Pines Road, SP30-2400, La Jolla, CA, 92037, USA.
2
Department of Neuroscience, The Scripps Research Institute, 10550 North Torrey Pines Road, SP30-2400, La Jolla, CA, 92037, USA. ogeorge@scripps.edu.

Abstract

RATIONALE:

A major issue in the addiction field is the limited number of animal models of the voluntary induction and maintenance of alcohol dependence in outbred rats.

OBJECTIVES:

To address this issue, we developed a novel apparatus that vaporizes alcohol for 2-10 min after an active nosepoke response.

METHODS:

Male Wistar rats were allowed to self-administer alcohol vapor for 8 h/day every other day for 24 sessions (escalated) or eight sessions (non-escalated). Escalated and non-escalated rats were then tested for progressive ratio responding. Anxiety-like behavior, somatic signs of withdrawal, and hyperalgesia were assessed during acute withdrawal.

RESULTS:

The results showed that rats exhibited excellent discrimination between the active and inactive operanda (>85%), and the escalated rats quickly increased their blood alcohol levels from ~50 to >200 mg% in ~6 weeks. Compared with non-escalated rats, escalated rats exhibited severe addiction-like behavior, including somatic signs of withdrawal, anxiety-like behavior, hyperalgesia, and higher responding on a progressive ratio schedule of reinforcement.

CONCLUSIONS:

These results demonstrate that outbred rats will voluntarily self-administer alcohol vapor to the point of dependence without the use of forced alcohol administration, sweeteners, food/water restriction, operant pretraining, or behavioral/genetic selection. This novel animal model may be particularly useful for medication development to help unveil the neuronal circuitry that underlies the voluntary induction of alcohol addiction and identify novel molecular targets that are specifically recruited after the voluntary induction and maintenance of alcohol dependence.

KEYWORDS:

Addiction; Alcohol; Anxiety; Dependence; Vapor; Withdrawal

PMID:
28342089
PMCID:
PMC5658208
DOI:
10.1007/s00213-017-4608-7
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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