Reinstatement of ethanol-seeking behavior by drug cues following single versus multiple ethanol intoxication in the rat: effects of naltrexone.

Department of Neuropharmacology, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, Calif., USA.
Psychopharmacology (Impact Factor: 3.99). 08/2003; 168(1-2):208-15. DOI: 10.1007/s00213-002-1380-z
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT A positive relationship exists between chronic ethanol intoxication experiences and the severity of neural hyperactivity and withdrawal seizures. An important possibility is that withdrawal reactions also influence the motivation to obtain and consume ethanol.
To test this hypothesis, the effects of ethanol-cues on the recovery of extinguished ethanol-seeking and the reversal of this effect by naltrexone, were determined in non-dependent rats and in rats subjected to single versus repeated ethanol intoxications.
Rats were trained to self-administer and discriminate between 10% ethanol and water. Instrumental responding then was extinguished and the effects of exposure to ethanol and water cues were determined. Subsequently, rats were divided into three groups and exposed to control vapor (CTRL), to 12-day ethanol vapor prior to withdrawal (SW), or to three cycles of 3-day intoxication experiences (MW), respectively. Following intoxication, reacquisition and breaking point for ethanol self-administration and cues-induced reinstatement of drug-seeking were investigated.
Ethanol cues significantly reinstated responding in the pre- and post-dependence test, but no significant differences between groups was observed. However, the ability of naltrexone to attenuate the response-reinstatement was significantly reduced in MW rats. Moreover, in the progressive ratio schedule, the breaking points for ethanol were significantly increased in the MW animals.
The results suggest that repeated intoxication did not enhance cue-induced reinstatement of ethanol-seeking. However, naltrexone effects on cues-induced "relapse" appear to be attenuated in MW rats.

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