Rats bred for high alcohol drinking are more sensitive to delayed and probabilistic outcomes.

Department of Behavioral Neuroscience, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR 97239, USA.
Genes Brain and Behavior (Impact Factor: 3.51). 10/2008; 7(7):705-13. DOI: 10.1111/j.1601-183X.2008.00406.x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Alcoholics and heavy drinkers score higher on measures of impulsivity than nonalcoholics and light drinkers. This may be because of factors that predate drug exposure (e.g. genetics). This study examined the role of genetics by comparing impulsivity measures in ethanol-naive rats selectively bred based on their high [high alcohol drinking (HAD)] or low [low alcohol drinking (LAD)] consumption of ethanol. Replicates 1 and 2 of the HAD and LAD rats, developed by the University of Indiana Alcohol Research Center, completed two different discounting tasks. Delay discounting examines sensitivity to rewards that are delayed in time and is commonly used to assess 'choice' impulsivity. Probability discounting examines sensitivity to the uncertain delivery of rewards and has been used to assess risk taking and risk assessment. High alcohol drinking rats discounted delayed and probabilistic rewards more steeply than LAD rats. Discount rates associated with probabilistic and delayed rewards were weakly correlated, while bias was strongly correlated with discount rate in both delay and probability discounting. The results suggest that selective breeding for high alcohol consumption selects for animals that are more sensitive to delayed and probabilistic outcomes. Sensitivity to delayed or probabilistic outcomes may be predictive of future drinking in genetically predisposed individuals.

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Background Increased levels of delay discounting have been associated with alcoholism and problematic levels of drinking. Attempts to assess the directionality of this relationship by studying individuals with a family history of alcoholism as well as rodent lines selectively bred for high home cage alcohol preference have yielded discordant results. One possible reason for this discordance is that increased levels of delay discounting may only track with specific processes that lead to addiction vulnerability. This study investigated this possibility by assessing 3 strains of rats previously identified to exhibit heritable differences in ethanol (EtOH) seeking and consumption.Methods In an adjusting amount delay discounting task, alcohol-preferring (P) rats who display high levels of both EtOH seeking and consumption were compared to high alcohol-drinking (HAD2) rats who only exhibit moderate EtOH seeking despite high levels of consumption, and Long Evans (LE) rats who display moderate seeking and consumption. EtOH-seeking and consumption phenotypes were subsequently confirmed in an operant self-administration task with a procedural separation between EtOH seeking and drinking.ResultsP rats discounted delayed rewards to a greater extent than both HAD2s and LE who did not show differences in discounting. Moreover, the EtOH-seeking and drinking phenotypes were replicated with P rats displaying greater EtOH seeking compared to both the HAD2s and LE, and both the HAD2s and P rats consuming more EtOH than LEs.Conclusions Only the high-seeking strain, the P rats, exhibited increased levels of delay discounting. This suggests that this measure of behavioral under-control is specifically associated with alcohol-related appetitive, but not consummatory, processes as the moderate seeking/high drinking line did not show increased levels of impulsivity. This finding supports the hypothesis that delay discounting is specifically associated with only certain processes which are sufficient but not necessary to confer addiction vulnerability and therefore also supports increased levels of delay discounting as a predisposing risk factor for alcoholism.
    Alcoholism Clinical and Experimental Research 10/2014; 38(10). DOI:10.1111/acer.12523 · 3.31 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Evidence from both human and animal studies suggests that sensitivity to rewarding stimuli is positively associated with impulsive behaviors, including both impulsive decision making and inhibitory control. The current study examined associations between the hedonic value of a sweet taste and two forms of impulsivity (impulsive choice and impulsive action) in healthy young adults (N = 100). Participants completed a sweet taste test in which they rated their liking of various sweetness concentrations. Subjects also completed measures of impulsive choice (delay discounting), and impulsive action (go/no-go task). Subjects who discounted more steeply (i.e., greater impulsive choice) liked the high sweetness concentration solutions more. By contrast, sweet liking was not related to impulsive action. These findings indicate that impulsive choice may be associated with heightened sensitivity to the hedonic value of a rewarding stimulus, and that these constructs might share common underlying neurobiological mechanisms.
    Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 06/2014; 8:228. DOI:10.3389/fnbeh.2014.00228 · 4.16 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Most decisions made in real-life situations are risky because they are associated with possible negative consequences. Current models of decision-making postulate that the occasional, unpredictable absence of reward that may result from free choice is a negative consequence interpreted as risk by organisms in laboratory situations. I argue that such a view is difficult to justify because, in most experimental paradigms, reward omission does not represent a cost for the decision maker. Risk only exists when unpredictability may cause a potential loss of own limited resources, whether energetic, social, financial, and so on. Thus the experimental methodologies used to test humans and non-humans relative to risk-taking seem to be limited to studying the effects of reward uncertainty in the absence of true decision cost. This may have important implications for the conclusions that can be drawn with respect to the neurobehavioural determinants of risk-taking in real-life situations.
    Behavioural brain research 03/2015; 280:119-127. DOI:10.1016/j.bbr.2014.12.003 · 3.39 Impact Factor


Available from
May 28, 2014