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Keywords:

  • C57BL/6J;
  • DBA/2J;
  • dependence;
  • ethanol;
  • inbred mice;
  • HAP2;
  • LAP2;
  • selectively bred mice;
  • self-administration;
  • tolerance

Two experiments examined the effect of 5 days of passive exposure to ethanol (or water) on later self-infusion of ethanol or water via surgically implanted intragastric (IG) catheters in mouse genotypes previously shown to drink high (C57BL/6J, HAP2) or low (DBA/2J, LAP2) amounts of ethanol in home-cage continuous-access two-bottle choice procedures. Intragastric ethanol self-infusion was affected by both genotype and a history of passive ethanol exposure, with greater intakes in the high-drinking genotypes and in groups that received passive exposure to ethanol. Passive ethanol exposure also increased preference for the flavor that signaled ethanol infusion (S+), eliminating genetic differences in this measure. The increases in ethanol intake and S+ preference induced by ethanol exposure might have been mediated jointly by development of tolerance to aversive post-absorptive ethanol effects and negative reinforcement because of alleviation of withdrawal. Bout analyses indicated that ethanol exposure increased ethanol self-infusion by increasing the total number of daily bouts rather than by increasing bout size. These analyses also showed that DBA/2J mice infused larger ethanol bouts and a greater percentage of their total intakes in large bouts than C57BL/6J mice. Overall, these studies suggest that the IG self-infusion procedure is a potentially useful new tool for studying genetic and environmental influences on excessive ethanol intake and preference in mice.