Persistent High Alcohol Consumption in Alcohol-Preferring (P) Rats Results from a Lack of Normal Aversion to Alcohol

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University Medical Center, Box 3412, Durham, NC 27710, USA.
Alcohol and Alcoholism (Impact Factor: 1.96). 03/2010; 45(3):219-22. DOI: 10.1093/alcalc/agq020
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT In this study, we tested the impact of pretreatment with alcohol on subsequent alcohol drinking in outbred Sprague-Dawley and selectively bred alcohol-preferring (P) rats.
As a pretreatment, male Sprague-Dawley and P rats were given a passive oral administration of either alcohol (1.0 g/kg) or tap water. Then, they were given free choice of drinking alcohol (5% v/v) or water in their home cages, which was measured over 4 weeks.
Without alcohol pretreatment, there was no significant strain difference in alcohol preference; both strains preferred 5% (v/v) alcohol solution. The strain difference was only apparent in the groups given alcohol pretreatment. This arose from the fact that alcohol pretreatment significantly reduced alcohol preference in the Sprague-Dawley rats to a level well below 50%, while it did not alter drinking behavior in P rats. The same effects were seen with total alcohol consumption (g/kg/day). These effects persisted throughout the 4 weeks of the study.
The principal difference between the Sprague-Dawley and P rats was that the P rats did not show the normal aversion to alcohol after forced exposure to alcohol that the Sprague-Dawley rats showed. One of the potential contributors to high alcohol intake and preference in P rats may be lack of sensitivity to aversive effects of alcohol.

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Abnormal decision making under risk is associated with a number of psychiatric disorders. Here, we focus on binge drinkers (BD), characterized by repeated episodes of heavy alcohol intoxication. Previous studies suggest a decreased sensitivity to aversive conditioning in BD. Here, we asked whether BD might be characterized by enhanced risk seeking related to decreased sensitivity to the anticipation of negative outcomes. Using an anticipatory risk-taking task (40 BD and 70 healthy volunteers) and an adapted version of this task for functional magnetic resonance imaging (21 BD and 21 healthy volunteers), we assessed sensitivity to reward and loss across risk probabilities. In the behavioral task, BD showed a higher number of risky choices in high-risk losses. In the neuroimaging task, the high-risk attitude in the loss condition was associated with greater activity in dorsolateral prefrontal, lateral orbitofrontal, and superior parietal cortices in BD. Explicit exposure of BD to the probability and magnitude of loss, via introduction of feedback, resulted in a subsequent decrease in risky choices. This change in risk attitude in BD was associated with greater activity in inferior frontal gyrus, which also correlated with the percentage of decrease in risky choices after feedback presentation, suggesting a possible role for cognitive control toward risk-seeking attitudes. Our findings suggest that a decrease in sensitivity to the anticipation of high-risk negative outcomes might underlie BD behavior. Presentation of explicit feedback of probability and loss in BD can potentially modify risk-taking attitudes, which have important public health implications and suggest possible therapeutic targets.
    Biological psychiatry 12/2013; 76(9). DOI:10.1016/j.biopsych.2013.11.028 · 8.93 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The progressive predominance of rewarding effects of addictive drugs over their aversive properties likely contributes to the transition from drug use to drug dependence. By inhibiting the activity of DA neurons in the VTA, GABA projections from the rostromedial tegmental nucleus (RMTg) are well suited to shift the balance between drug-induced reward and aversion. Since cannabinoids suppress RMTg inputs to DA cells and CB1 receptors affect alcohol intake in rodents, we hypothesized that the endocannabinoid system, by modulating this pathway, might contribute to alcohol preference. Here we found that RMTg afferents onto VTA DA neurons express CB1 receptors and display a 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG)-dependent form of short-term plasticity, that is, depolarization-induced suppres-sion of inhibition (DSI). Next, we compared rodents with innate opposite alcohol preference, the Sardinian alcohol-preferring (sP) and alcohol-nonpreferring (sNP) rats. We found that DA cells from alcohol-naive sP rats displayed a decreased probability of GABA release and a larger DSI. This difference was due to the rate of 2-AG degradation. In vivo, we found a reduced RMTg-induced inhibition of putative DA neurons in sP rats that negatively correlated with an increased firing. Finally, alcohol failed to enhance RMTg spontaneous activity and to prolong RMTg-induced silencing of putative DA neurons in sP rats. Our results indicate functional modifications of RMTg projections to DA neurons that might impact the reward/aversion balance of alcohol attributes, which may contribute to the innate preference observed in sP rats and to their elevated alcohol intake.
    The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience 09/2014; 34(38). DOI:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1844-14.2014 · 6.75 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Addiction as a psychiatric disorder involves interaction of inherited predispositions and environmental factors. Similarly to humans, laboratory animals self-administer addictive drugs, whose appetitive properties result from activation and suppression of brain reward and aversive pathways, respectively. The ventral tegmental area (VTA) where dopamine (DA) cells are located is a key component of brain reward circuitry, whereas the rostromedial tegmental nucleus (RMTg) critically regulates aversive behaviors. Reduced responses to either aversive intrinsic components of addictive drugs or to negative consequences of compulsive drug taking might contribute to vulnerability to addiction. In this regard, female Lister Hooded (LH) rats are more vulnerable than male counterparts to cannabinoid self-administration. We, therefore, took advantage of sex differences displayed by LH rats, and studied VTA DA neuronal properties to unveil functional differences. Electrophysiological properties of DA cells were examined performing either single cell extracellular recordings in anesthetized rats or whole-cell patch-clamp recordings in slices. In vivo, DA cell spontaneous activity was similar, though sex differences were observed in RMTg-induced inhibition of DA neurons. In vitro, DA cells showed similar intrinsic and synaptic properties. However, females displayed larger depolarization-induced suppression of inhibition (DSI) than male LH rats. DSI, an endocannabinoid-mediated form of short term plasticity, was mediated by 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) activating type 1-cannabinoid (CB1) receptors. We found that sex-dependent differences in DSI magnitude were not ascribed to CB1 number and/or function, but rather to a tonic 2-AG signaling. We suggest that sex specific tonic 2-AG signaling might contribute to regulate responses to aversive intrinsic properties to cannabinoids, thus resulting in faster acquisition/initiation of cannabinoid taking and, eventually, in progression to addiction.
    Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience 12/2013; 7:93. DOI:10.3389/fnint.2013.00093
    This article is viewable in ResearchGate's enriched format

Full-text (2 Sources)

Available from
Oct 13, 2014