• Inbred Mice;
  • Recombinant Inbred Mice;
  • Aldehyde Dehydrogenase;
  • Catalase;
  • Alcohol Drinking

Studies were initiated to characterize behaviorally and biochemically C57BL/6J and DBA/2J inbred mice, as well as BXD Recombinant Inbred (RI) strains derived from them. The C57BL/6J, DBA/2J, and 7 BXD RI strains were tested for voluntary alcohol consumption (VAC) by receiving 4 days of forced exposure to a 10% (w/v) solution of alcohol, followed by 3 weeks of free choice between water and 10% alcohol. Measures of VAC included the absolute intake of alcohol (g/kg), as well as alcohol preference. A wide range of VAC was displayed by the various BXD RI strains with a continuous (rather than bimodal) distribution, indicating that there is likely to be additive effects of several genes involved in regulating alcohol-related behaviors. Kinetic characteristics of aldehyde dehydrogenase and catalase in liver and brain of the C57BL/6J, DBA/2J, and BXD strains of mice were determined to test the hypothesis that the genetic regulation of the levels of alcohol-metabolizing enzymes mediate differences in VAC. Aldehyde dehydrogenase activity was determined spectrophotometrically by observing the change in absorption at 340 nm. Catalase activity was determined by measuring oxygen production with a Yellow Springs Biological Oxygen monitor and oxygen electrode. There was a strong negative relationship between VAC and brain catalase activity in the BXD RI and parental strains. These data suggest that RI strains are likely to be useful genetic models in the examination of quantitative trait loci controlling VAC and other responses to alcohol.