Chronic ethanol tolerance as a result of free-choice drinking in alcohol-preferring rats of the WHP line.
ABSTRACT The development of tolerance to alcohol with chronic consumption is an important criterion for an animal model of alcoholism and may be an important component of the genetic predisposition to alcoholism. The aim of this study was to determine whether the selectively bred Warsaw High Preferring (WHP) line of alcohol-preferring rats would develop behavioral and metabolic tolerance during the free-choice drinking of ethanol. Chronic tolerance to ethanol-induced sedation was tested. The loss of righting reflex (LRR) paradigm was used to record sleep duration in WHP rats. Ethanol (EtOH)-naive WHP rats received a single intraperitoneal (i.p.) injection of 5.0 g ethanol/kg body weight (b.w.), and sleep duration was measured. Subsequently, rats had access to a 10% ethanol solution under a free-choice condition with water and food for 12 weeks. After 12 weeks of the free-choice intake of ethanol, the rats received another single i.p. injection of 5.0 g ethanol/kg b.w., and sleep duration was reassessed. The blood alcohol content (BAC) for each rat was determined after an i.p. injection of 5 g/kg of ethanol in naive rats and again after chronic alcohol drinking at the time of recovery of the righting reflex (RR). The results showed that the mean ethanol intake was 9.14 g/kg/24 h, and both sleep duration and BAC were decreased after chronic ethanol intake. In conclusion, WHP rats exposed to alcohol by free-choice drinking across 12 weeks exhibited increased alcohol elimination rates. Studies have demonstrated that WHP rats after chronic free-choice drinking (12 weeks) of alcohol develop metabolic tolerance. Behavioral tolerance to ethanol was demonstrated by reduced sleep duration, but this decrease in sleep duration was not significant.