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Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2004 May;28(5):712-9.

Differential neurosensitivity to the discriminative stimulus properties of ethanol in C57BL/6J and C3H/He mice.

Author information

1
Medical Research, Department of Veterans Affairs, Charleston Alcohol Research Center, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina, USA. beckerh@musc.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

A large body of evidence suggests that the interoceptive cue associated with ethanol intoxication is complex and dependent on a number of environmental and biological factors. Despite the fact that mice have been widely used to study genetic influences on sensitivity to various actions of ethanol, few studies have used mice to examine sensitivity to the discriminative stimulus effects of ethanol. The purpose of this study was to compare sensitivity to the discriminative stimulus effects of ethanol in two inbred mouse strains, namely C57BL/6J and C3H/He mice.

METHODS:

Adult male C57BL/6J and C3H/He mice were trained to discriminate between ethanol and saline using a two-lever food reinforcement operant procedure. Once criterion discrimination performance was achieved, dose-response functions were determined from generalization tests. Additional experiments were conducted to determine whether differences in discrimination performance were related to differential blood/brain ethanol levels in the two mouse strains.

RESULTS:

A greater proportion of C57BL/6J mice acquired the discrimination and required fewer trials to achieve criterion performance compared with C3H/He mice with a 1.0 g/kg ethanol training dose. This deficit in acquisition was overcome when the training dose was increased to 2.0 g/kg for C3H/He mice. In a second experiment, a 1.5 g/kg training dose of ethanol was used for both strains. Again, a greater proportion of C57BL/6J mice acquired the discrimination and required fewer training trials to achieve criterion performance compared with C3H/He mice. Blood ethanol levels did not differ between the strains after administration of the 1.5 g/kg training dose. However, blood and brain ethanol levels did differ between the strains after doses of ethanol were administered that produced equivalent discrimination performance.

CONCLUSIONS:

Results indicate that ethanol discrimination was more readily acquired and maintained in C57BL/6J mice than C3H/He mice. Ethanol dose-response functions generated from generalization tests also clearly demonstrated greater sensitivity to the discriminative stimulus properties of ethanol in C57BL/6J mice compared with the C3H/He strain. This differential sensitivity to the interoceptive cue produced by ethanol does not seem to be related to learning or pharmacokinetic differences between the two inbred strains.

PMID:
15166645
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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