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Journal Article

Alcohol self-administration in two rat lines selectively bred for extremes in anxiety-related behavior


Hölter,  SM
Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry, Max Planck Society;

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Henniger, M., Spanagel, R., Wigger, A., Landgraf, R., & Hölter, S. (2002). Alcohol self-administration in two rat lines selectively bred for extremes in anxiety-related behavior. Neuropsychopharmacology, 26(6), 729-736.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-000E-A1CD-3
According to the tension reduction hypothesis, individuals with art elevated anxiety level may be more sensitive to the anxiolytic effects of alcohol and may, therefore, have a higher predisposition to consume alcohol. To examine this hypothesis, we studied the drinking behavior as well as the sensitivity to the anxiolytic effect of alcohol in two rat lines that were bred and selected for differences in anxiety-related behavior on the elevated plus-maze: the extremely anxious HAB (high anxiety-related behavior) and the non-anxious LAB (low anxiety- related behavior) lines. Alcohol self-administration and the occurrence of an alcohol deprivation effect were studied in female and male HAB and LAB rats in a free-choice, 4-bottle home cage paradigm. The sensitivity of HAB and LAB rats to the anxiolytic effect of alcohol was assessed by testing their behavior oil the elevated plus-maze after an acute application of ethanol. During the first days of voluntary ethanol drinking, the ethanol intake and preference of female LABs was significantly higher than that of female HABs. Although not statistically significant, the same trend could be seen in male LABs. Moreover, male as well as female LAB but not HAB rats showed a significant alcohol deprivation effect after abstinence. There were no differences when saccharin was presented to naive animals, indicating that the different ethanol drinking behavior of HAB and LAB rats does not represent a general difference in the consumption of new liquids. Application of ethanol resulted in an anxiolytic effect in HAB but not in LAB rats oil the elevated plus-maze. In summary, increased inborn anxiety and voluntary ethanol consumption of HAB and LAB rats were correlated to some extent; however, this relationship was a negative one. It is concluded that, although such a relationship knight exist in solve individuals, increased levels of inborn anxiety and alcohol consumption are not necessarily related, (C) 2002 American College of Neuropsychopharmacology. Published by Elsevier Science Inc