SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Keywords:

  • Alcohol Withdrawal;
  • Alcohol Drinking;
  • Acoustic Startle;
  • Genetics;
  • Selected Lines

Background: We have previously shown that a genetic association exists between low alcohol drinking and high alcohol withdrawal magnitude after acute alcohol exposure in alcohol-naïve rats. However, the behavioral rating scale used in this prior study was not optimal for assessing the magnitude of mild alcohol withdrawal. The present study examined whether a genetic relationship is again found between alcohol preference and alcohol withdrawal magnitude when a sensitive measure is used to index mild alcohol withdrawal in rats.

Methods: Alcohol-naïve, male rats selectively bred for alcohol preference (P, HAD1, HAD2) or nonpreference (NP, LAD1, LAD2) received a single intragastric infusion of alcohol (4.0 g/20.3 ml/kg body weight; 25% v/v) or water followed by acoustic startle testing.

Results: Startle probability and magnitude was greater in water-treated P than in water-treated NP rats. During alcohol withdrawal, startle probability and magnitude was suppressed in P rats and elevated in NP rats relative to water-treated controls. Startle probability and magnitude was greater in water-treated LAD1 rats than in water-treated HAD1 rats. During alcohol withdrawal, startle probability and magnitude was suppressed in HAD1 and elevated in LAD1 rats relative to water-treated controls at 20 hr after acute alcohol exposure. Startle probability and magnitude did not differ between water-treated HAD2 and water-treated LAD2 rats. During alcohol withdrawal, there was a trend toward decreased startle probability and magnitude in HAD2 rats compared with water-treated controls.

Conclusions: The acoustic startle response to a tone stimulus is a sensitive measure of mild alcohol withdrawal in rats. Rats selectively bred for low alcohol intake showed greater alcohol withdrawal magnitude than did rats selectively bred for high alcohol intake. These results provide further evidence that an inverse genetic association exists between alcohol withdrawal magnitude and propensity toward alcohol drinking in rats.