Reduced ethanol consumption and preference in cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript (CART) knockout mice

Authors

  • Armando G. Salinas,

    Corresponding author
    1. Division of Pharmacology and Toxicology, College of Pharmacy, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, USA
    • Correspondence to: Armando Salinas, The University of Texas at Austin, College of Pharmacy, 2409 University Avenue, A1915, Austin, TX 78712, USA. E-mail: as7@austin.utexas.edu

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  • Chinh T. Q. Nguyen,

    1. Division of Pharmacology and Toxicology, College of Pharmacy, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, USA
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  • Dara Ahmadi-Tehrani,

    1. Division of Pharmacology and Toxicology, College of Pharmacy, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, USA
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  • Richard A. Morrisett

    1. Division of Pharmacology and Toxicology, College of Pharmacy, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, USA
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Abstract

Cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript (CART) is a neuropeptide implicated in addiction to drugs of abuse. Several studies have characterized the role of CART in addiction to psychostimulants, but few have examined the role of CART in alcohol use disorders including alcoholism. The current study utilized a CART knockout (KO) mouse model to investigate the role of CART in ethanol appetitive behaviors. A two-bottle choice, unlimited-access paradigm was used to compare ethanol appetitive behaviors between CART wild type (WT) and KO mice. The mice were presented with an ethanol solution (3%–21%) and water, each concentration for 4 days, and their consumption was measured daily. Consumption of quinine (bitter) and saccharin (sweet) solutions was measured following the ethanol preference tests. In addition, ethanol metabolism rates and ethanol sensitivity were compared between genotypes. CART KO mice consumed and preferred ethanol less than their WT counterparts in both sexes. This genotype effect could not be attributed to differences in bitter or sweet taste perception or ethanol metabolism rates. There was also no difference in ethanol sensitivity in male mice; however, CART KO female mice showed a greater ethanol sensitivity than the WT females. Taken together, these data demonstrate a role for CART in ethanol appetitive behaviors and as a possible therapeutic drug target for alcoholism and abstinence enhancement.

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