Send to

Choose Destination
Brain Res. 1998 Apr 27;791(1-2):18-26.

Effects of the self-administration of ethanol and ethanol/sucrose on rates of local cerebral glucose utilization in rats.

Author information

Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Wake Forest University, School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC, USA.


In a previous study, the voluntary ingestion of ethanol by rats was found to be associated with a discrete pattern of changes in functional activity that included the nucleus accumbens, medial prefrontal cortex, basolateral and central nuclei of the amygdala, as well as the ventral midbrain. Rats in this study, however, consumed a combination of ethanol in a sucrose vehicle. The purpose of the present experiment was to characterize the role of sucrose in determining the effects of orally self-administered ethanol using the quantitative autoradiographic 2-[14C]deoxyglucose (2DG) method for measurement of rates of local cerebral glucose utilization. A modified sucrose-substitution procedure was employed to train three groups of Wistar rats to self-administer either water, 10% ethanol (10E), or a 10% ethanol/2% sucrose solution (10E/2S) in daily sessions. An additional group of rats was trained using a modified acclimation procedure (home cage) in order to determine if any exposure to sucrose would alter rates of glucose utilization. Once stable rates of consumption were established, the 2DG method was applied immediately following completion of the final test session. Rats received a dose of ethanol equivalent to 0.5 g kg-1 on the day of the procedure or a comparable volume of water. Rates of energy metabolism were significantly increased in all three groups of rats that consumed ethanol (10E/2S, 10E, and home cage), as compared to rates in rats that consumed water. The areas of significant change included the rostral pole and posterior shell of the nucleus accumbens, medial prefrontal cortex, the basolateral and central nuclei of the amygdala, the ventral tegmental area, and the substantia nigra pars compacta. Thus, the pattern of changes in functional brain activity that accompanies voluntary ingestion of ethanol is independent of the vehicle in which the ethanol is presented or the procedures used to initiate consumption. Furthermore, these data demonstrate that it is the simultaneous activation of an interrelated network of limbic brain regions that serves as the substrate of the effects of ethanol self-administration.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center