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Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2006 Dec;30(12):1957-65.

Ethanol-related behaviors in serotonin transporter knockout mice.

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Section on Behavioral Science and Genetics, Laboratory for Integrative Neuroscience, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, National Institutes of Health, Rockville, Maryland, USA.



Increasing evidence supports a role for 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) and the 5-HT transporter (5-HTT) in modulating the neural and behavioral actions of ethanol (EtOH) and other drugs of abuse.


We used a 5-HTT knockout (KO) mouse model to further study this relationship. 5-Hydroxytryptamine transporter KO mice were tested for the sedative/hypnotic, hypothermia-inducing, motor-incoordinating (via accelerating rotarod), and depression-related (via tail suspension test) effects of acute EtOH administration. Reward-related effects of EtOH were assessed in 5-HTT KO mice using the conditioned place preference (CPP) paradigm. 5-Hydroxytryptamine transporter KO mice were tested for voluntary consumption of EtOH in a modified 2-bottle choice test that measured the temporal organization of drinking over the circadian cycle via "lickometers."


Replicating previous findings, 5-HTT KO mice exhibited significantly increased sensitivity to EtOH-induced sedation/hypnosis relative to wild-type controls. Additionally, 5-HTT KO mice showed motor-coordination deficits at baseline and in response to EtOH. Hypothermic, pro-depressive-like, and reward-related effects of EtOH were no different across genotypes. Gross EtOH consumption was modestly reduced in 5-HTT KO mice, due to significantly lesser consumption during the peak period of drinking in the early dark phase.


Data extend the finding that loss of 5-HTT gene function alters certain neural and behavioral effects of EtOH, with implications for better understanding the pathophysiology and treatment of alcoholism.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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