The alcohol-preferring AA and alcohol-avoiding ANA rats: neurobiology of the regulation of alcohol drinking.
ABSTRACT The AA (alko, alcohol) and ANA (alko, non-alcohol) rat lines were among the earliest rodent lines produced by bidirectional selection for ethanol preference. The purpose of this review is to highlight the strategies for understanding the neurobiological factors underlying differential alcohol-drinking behavior in these lines. Most early work evaluated functioning of the major neurotransmitter systems implicated in drug reward in the lines. No consistent line differences were found in the dopaminergic system either under baseline conditions or after ethanol challenges. However, increased opioidergic tone in the ventral striatum and a deficiency in endocannabinoid signaling in the prefrontal cortex of AA rats may comprise mechanisms leading to increased ethanol consumption. Because complex behaviors, such as ethanol drinking, are not likely to be controlled by single factors, system-oriented molecular-profiling strategies have been used recently. Microarray based expression analysis of AA and ANA brains and novel data-mining strategies provide a system biological view that allows us to formulate a hypothesis on the mechanism underlying selection for ethanol preference. Two main factors appear active in the selection: a recruitment of signal transduction networks, including mitogen-activated protein kinases and calcium pathways and involving transcription factors such as Creb, Myc and Max, to mediate ethanol reinforcement and plasticity. The second factor acts on the mitochondrion and most likely provides metabolic flexibility for alternative substrate utilization in the presence of low amounts of ethanol.
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ABSTRACT: Rational development of novel therapeutic strategies for alcoholism requires understanding of its underlying neurobiology and pathophysiology. Obtaining this knowledge largely relies on animal studies. Thus, choosing the appropriate animal model is one of the most critical steps in pre-clinical medication development. Among the range of animal models that have been used to investigate excessive alcohol consumption in rodents, the postdependent model stands out. It was specifically developed to test the role of negative affect as a key driving force in a perpetuating addiction cycle for alcoholism. Here, we will describe our approach to make rats dependent via chronic intermittent exposure to alcohol, discuss the validity of this model, and compare it with other commonly used animal models of alcoholism. We will summarize evidence that postdependent rats fulfill several criteria of a ‘Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV/V-like’ diagnostic system. Importantly, these animals show long-lasting excessive consumption of and increased motivation for alcohol, and evidence for loss of control over alcohol intake. Our conclusion that postdependent rats are an excellent model for medication development for alcoholism is underscored by a summary of more than two dozen pharmacological tests aimed at reversing these abnormal alcohol responses. We will end with open questions on the use of this model. In the tradition of the Sanchis-Segura and Spanagel review, we provide comic strips that illustrate the postdependent procedure and relevant phenotypes in this review.Addiction Biology 12/2014; 20(1). DOI:10.1111/adb.12187 · 5.93 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Early-life events can cause long-term neurobiological and behavioural changes with a resultant effect upon reward and addiction processes that enhance risk to develop alcohol use disorders. Maternal separation (MS) is used to study the mediating mechanisms of early-life influences in rodents. In MS studies, the pups are exposed to maternal absence during the first postnatal weeks. The outcome of MS experiments exhibits considerable variation and questions have been raised about the validity of MS models. This short review aims to provide information about experimental conditions that are important to consider when assessing the impact of early-life environment on voluntary ethanol consumption. The results from currently used MS protocols are not uniform. However, studies consistently show that longer separations of intact litters predispose for higher ethanol consumption and/or preference in adult male rats as compared to shorter periods of MS. Studies using individual pup MS paradigms, other controls, low ethanol concentrations, adult females or examining adolescent consumption reported no differences or inconsistent results. There is no "a rodent MS model", there are several models and they generate different results. The compiled literature shows that MS is a model of choice for analysis of early-life effects on voluntary ethanol consumption but there are examples of MS paradigms that are not suitable. These studies emphasize the importance to carefully designed MS experiments to supply the optimal conditions to definitely test the research hypothesis and to be particulate in the interpretation of the outcome.Psychopharmacology 08/2013; 229(4). DOI:10.1007/s00213-013-3217-3 · 3.99 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to determine whether animals predisposed to prefer alcohol possess an altered acute response to alcohol on a delay discounting task relative to animals predisposed to avoid alcohol. We used rats selected to prefer or avoid alcohol to assess whether genotype moderates changes in delay discounting induced by acute ethanol exposure. Selectively bred rat lines of Sardinian alcohol-preferring (sP; n = 8) and non-preferring (sNP; n = 8) rats, and alko alcohol (AA, n = 8) and alko non-alcohol (ANA, n = 8) rats were trained in an adjusting amount task to assess delay discounting. There were no significant effects of line on baseline discounting; however, both lines of alcohol-preferring rats exhibit slowed reaction times. Acute ethanol (0, 0.25, 0.5 g/kg) treatment also had no effect on delay discounting in any of the selectively bred rat lines. Our data indicate that in these lines of animals, alcohol preference or avoidance has no impact on delay discounting following acute ethanol exposure. It is possible that other genetic models or lines may be differentially affected by alcohol and exhibit qualitatively and quantitatively different responses in delay discounting tasks.Alcohol and Alcoholism 05/2012; 47(5):518-24. DOI:10.1093/alcalc/ags059 · 2.09 Impact Factor