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Intravenous ethanol/cocaine self-administration initiates high intake of intravenous ethanol alone.

College of Pharmacy, Division of Pharmacology/Toxicology, PHR 5.224, The University of Texas, Austin, TX 78712-1074, USA.
Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior (Impact Factor: 2.82). 08/2002; 72(4):787-94. DOI: 10.1016/S0091-3057(02)00738-4
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Evidence suggests that ethanol (EtOH) preexposure influences the rewarding valence of subsequent EtOH use. This study was conducted to determine if EtOH preexposure through EtOH/cocaine self-administration facilitates the motivational effects of EtOH alone. Rats self-administered intravenous (iv) EtOH/cocaine combinations (EtOH/Cocaine Fading group; EtOH 125.0 mg/kg/inj+Cocaine 0.1-0.75 mg/kg/inj) during a preexposure period. Consequently, these rats self-administered intravenous EtOH alone (62.5, 125.0, 250.0 and 500.0 mg/kg/inj) significantly more than a control group with prior cocaine self-administration experience (0.1-0.75 mg/kg/inj). In addition, at equal EtOH intake levels, locomotor activity was significantly enhanced in the EtOH/Cocaine Fading group but not the Cocaine Control animals (P=.01). The amount of EtOH self-administered in the EtOH/Cocaine Fading group during 1-h sessions (approximately 0.5-2.0 g/kg) corresponded with blood alcohol levels (BAL) ranging from 44 to 221 mg/dl. The highest BALs reported here have not previously been demonstrated after voluntary EtOH intake through any route of administration. These data suggest that preexposure to EtOH during EtOH/cocaine self-administration sessions modified neural substrates underlying both the reinforcing and locomotor responses to EtOH alone. Further studies utilizing intravenous EtOH self-administration will allow identification of various long-term behavioral and neural consequences of voluntary high EtOH intake.

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