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; · 5.93 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Alcoholism (alcohol dependence and alcohol use disorder, AUD) is quintessentially behavioral in nature. AUD is behaviorally and genetically complex. This review discusses behavioral assessment of alcohol sensitivity, tolerance, dependence, withdrawal, and reinforcement. The focus is on using laboratory animal models to explore genetic contributions to individual differences in alcohol responses. Rodent genetic animal models based on selective breeding for high vs low alcohol response, and those based on the use of inbred strains, are reviewed. Genetic strategies have revealed the complexity of alcohol responses where genetic influences on multiple alcohol-related behaviors are mostly discrete. They have also identified areas where genetic influences are consistent across behavioral assays and have been used to model genetic differences among humans at different risk for AUD.Handbook of Clinical Neurology 01/2014; 125C:71-86.
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ABSTRACT: The purpose of the present study was to investigate the role of ventral pallidal opioidergic mechanisms in the control of ethanol intake by studying the effects of acute administration of morphine on the levels of GABA, glutamate, and dopamine in the ventral pallidum. The study was conducted using the alcohol-preferring Alko Alcohol (AA) and alcohol-avoiding Alko Non-Alcohol (ANA) rat lines that have well-documented differences in their voluntary ethanol intake and brain opioidergic systems. Therefore, examination of neurobiological differences between the lines is supposed to help to identify the neuronal mechanisms underlying ethanol intake, since selection pressure is assumed gradually to lead to enrichment of alleles promoting high or low ethanol intake, respectively. The effects of an acute dose of morphine (1 or 10 mg/kg s.c.) on the extracellular levels of GABA and glutamate in the ventral pallidum were monitored with in vivo microdialysis. The concentrations of GABA and glutamate in the dialyzates were determined with a high performance liquid chromatography system using fluorescent detection, while electrochemical detection was used for dopamine. The levels of glutamate in the rats injected with morphine 1 mg/kg were significantly above the levels found in the controls and in the rats receiving morphine 10 mg/kg. Morphine 10 mg/kg also increased the levels of dopamine. Morphine could not, however, modify the levels of GABA. The rat lines did not differ in any of the effects of morphine. The data suggest that the glutamatergic and dopaminergic systems in the ventral pallidum may mediate some effects of morphine. Since there were no differences between the AA and ANA lines, the basic hypothesis underlying the use of the genetic animal model suggests that the effects of morphine detected probably do not underlie the different intake of ethanol by the lines and contribute to the control of ethanol intake in these animals.Frontiers in Psychiatry 01/2015; 6:1.