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.

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Cues associated with alcohol can stimulate subjective states that increase relapse. Alcohol-cue associations may be strengthened by enhancing adrenergic activity with yohimbine or weakened by blocking adrenergic activity with propranolol. Alcohol-cue associations may also be weakened by long cue exposure sessions or strengthened by short cue exposure sessions. A useful treatment approach for alcoholism may combine adrenergic manipulation with cue exposure sessions of a specific duration. The present study sought to determine if cue exposure during long- or short-duration extinction sessions with post-session yohimbine or propranolol would alter alcohol cue-induced responding and self-administration. Rats were trained to respond for alcohol during sessions that included an olfactory cue given at the beginning of the session and a visual/auditory cue complex delivered concurrently with alcohol. Cue-induced responding was assessed before and after the repeated extinction sessions. Repeated alcohol extinction sessions of long duration (45 min) or short duration (5 min) were followed immediately by injections of saline, yohimbine, or propranolol. After the second set of cue-induced responding tests, reacquisition of operant alcohol self-administration was examined. To determine if the experimental procedures were sensitive to memory manipulation through other pharmacological mechanisms, the NMDA receptor antagonist MK-801 was given 20 min prior to long-duration extinction sessions. Both the long- and short-duration extinction sessions decreased cue-induced responding. Neither yohimbine nor propranolol, given post-session, had subsequent effects on cue-induced responding or alcohol self-administration. MK-801 blocked the effect of extinction sessions on cue-induced responding but had no effect on self-administration. The present study shows that manipulation of the NMDA system in combination with alcohol cue exposure therapy during extinction-like sessions may be more effective than manipulation of the adrenergic system in reducing the strength of alcohol-cue associations in this specific model of alcohol relapse.
    Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior 01/2013; DOI:10.1016/j.pbb.2013.11.020 · 2.82 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Research indicates opioid antagonists can reduce alcohol drinking in rodents. However, tests examining the effects of opioid antagonists on ethanol seeking and relapse behavior have been limited. The present study examined the effects of two opioid antagonists on ethanol maintenance, seeking, and relapse responding by alcohol-preferring (P) rats. Adult P rats were self-trained in two-lever operant chambers to self-administer 15% (vol/vol) ethanol on a fixed-ratio 5 (FR5) versus water on a FR1 concurrent schedule of reinforcement in daily 1-h sessions. After 10 weeks, rats underwent extinction training, followed by 2 weeks in their home cages. Rats were then returned to the operant chambers without ethanol or water to measure responses on the ethanol and water levers for four sessions. After a subsequent 2 weeks in the home cage, without access to ethanol, rats were returned to the operant chambers with ethanol and water available. Effects of antagonists on maintenance responding were tested after several weeks of daily 1-h sessions. Naltrexone (NAL; 1-10mg/kg, subcutaneously [s.c.]; n=8/dose), LY255582 (LY; 0.03-1mg/kg, s.c.; n=8/dose), or vehicle were injected 30min before the first session (in the absence of ethanol), following 2 weeks in their home cages, and for four consecutive sessions of ethanol self-administration under maintenance and relapse conditions. Both NAL and LY reduced responses on the ethanol lever without any fluids present, and ethanol self-administration under relapse and on-going drinking conditions, with LY being more potent than NAL. Both NAL and LY were less effective in reducing responding in the absence of ethanol than in reducing ethanol self-administration. Overall, the results indicate that the opioid system is involved in mediating ethanol seeking, and ethanol self-administration under relapse and on-going alcohol drinking, but that different neurocircuits may underlie these behaviors.
    Alcohol (Fayetteville, N.Y.) 09/2011; 46(1):17-27. DOI:10.1016/j.alcohol.2011.08.011 · 2.04 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The role of withdrawal-related phenomena in the development and maintenance of alcohol addiction remains under debate. A 'self-medication' framework postulates that emotional changes are induced by a history of alcohol use, persist into abstinence, and are a major factor in maintaining alcoholism. This view initially focused on negative emotional states during early withdrawal: these are pronounced, occur in the vast majority of alcohol-dependent patients, and are characterized by depressed mood and elevated anxiety. This concept lost popularity with the realization that in most patients, these symptoms abate over 3-6 weeks of abstinence, while relapse risk persists long beyond this period. More recently, animal data have established that a prolonged history of alcohol dependence induces more subtle neuroadaptations. These confer altered emotional processing that persists long into protracted abstinence. The resulting behavioral phenotype is characterized by excessive voluntary alcohol intake and increased behavioral sensitivity to stress. Emerging human data support the clinical relevance of negative emotionality for protracted abstinence and relapse. These developments prompt a series of research questions: (1) are processes observed during acute withdrawal, while transient in nature, mechanistically related to those that remain during protracted abstinence?; (2) is susceptibility to negative emotionality in acute withdrawal in part due to heritable factors, similar to what animal models have indicated for susceptibility to physical aspects of withdrawal?; and (3) to what extent is susceptibility to negative affect that persists into protracted abstinence heritable?
    Addiction Biology 04/2010; 15(2):169-84. DOI:10.1111/j.1369-1600.2009.00194.x · 5.93 Impact Factor