Article

Chronic ethanol consumption in rats produces residual increases in anxiety 4 months after withdrawal.

Department of Psychology, Manhattanville College, 2900 Purchase Street, Purchase, NY 10577, USA. <>
Behavioural Brain Research (Impact Factor: 3.39). 04/2008; 188(1):24-31. DOI: 10.1016/j.bbr.2007.10.009
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The present study investigated the long-term effects of ethanol consumption in rats. Subjects were maintained on either an ethanol (alcohol) (2.7-6.7%, v/v) or an isocaloric liquid control diet for 26 consecutive days (M=13.7 g/kg/day). Testing for working memory was conducted in a Morris water maze (2 trials/day for 8 days) and commenced after either a short (19 days) or long (120 days) abstinence period. This was followed by assessment of 72 h retention of passive avoidance. Animals were killed either 41 (short abstinence) or 152 days (long abstinence) post-ethanol and their brains stained with cresyl violet. Assessments of dorsal-ventral and medial-lateral cortical vertices were measured in sections derived from eight coronal planes extending +4.20 to -4.16 mm from Bregma. Results indicated that subjects in the ethanol/long abstinence group exhibited increased state anxiety due to their propensity to be thigmotaxtic (i.e., wall-hugging) in the water maze. Unfortunately, such a swim pattern precluded assessment of working memory in our subjects. No evidence of ethanol-induced memory decrements were observed on retention of passive avoidance. There was some evidence that animals in the ethanol/long abstinent group suffered cortical thinning and slight compression of the CA1 layer within the hippocampus, although age might have contributed to the former effect. It was concluded that chronic ethanol consumption increases anxiety even after an extended period of withdrawal and may conspire with age to affect cortical integrity.

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