Additive Reduction of Alcohol Drinking by 5-HT1A Antagonist WAY 100635 and Serotonin Uptake Blocker Fluoxetine in Alcohol-Preferring P Rats


  • This study was supported by PHS P50 AA07611-10 and K01AA00207.

Reprint requests: Dr. Feng C. Zhou, Department of Anatomy, Indiana University School of Medicine, 635 Bamhill Drive, Indianapolis, IN 46202.


We found previously that alcohol-preferring (P) rats have fewer serotonin (5-HT) neurons and fibers in key brain regions than alcoholnonpreferring (NP) rats. Because 5-HT uptake blockers increase synaptic 5-HT content and 5-HT1A receptor antagonists increase 5-HT release by disinhibiting 5-HT autoinnervation, in the present study, our intent was to determine whether increased synaptic 5-HT content and/or 5-HT release in P rats would effectively reduce alcohol consumption. In experiment 1, the 5-HT antagonist WAY 100635 (WAY) was tested on adult female P rats maintained on 24-hr free-choice access to ethanol (10% v/v) and water. Twice daily doses of WAY (0.05, 0.1, 0.5, and 1.0 mg/kg, subcutaneously) were administered to each rat in a counterbalanced order. Baseline ethanol intake, derived from the mean ethanol intakes of the three previous non-drug days, was approximately 8 g/kg/day. Results indicated that 0.05,0.1, and 0.5 mg/kg doses of WAY reduced 24-hr ethanol drinking by 25-30% (p < 0.01) without affecting 24-hr water intake or body weight In the second experiment, the effects of WAY (0.5 mg/kg), fluoxetine (1.0 mg/kg), or a combination of both were tested in another group of female P rats. WAY and fluoxetine, each alone, reduced ethanol drinking by around 20% and, when combined, decreased ethanol intake by 50%, whereas the body weight and the total fluid intake were not significantly affected. Taken together, these results indicate that both fluoxetine and WAY preferentially reduce ethanol drinking in the P line of rats and, when administered together, reduce ethanol intake in an additive manner. It is proposed that coadministration of these two compounds with distinct mechanisms of action may be a new strategy for reducing alcohol intake.