The role of setting in the oral self-administration of alcohol in the rat

Testa, Arianna, Nencini, Paolo and Badiani, Aldo (2011) The role of setting in the oral self-administration of alcohol in the rat. Psychopharmacology, 215 (4). pp. 749-760. ISSN 1432-2072

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We have previously found that rats that were kept at all times in the self-administration (SA) chambers (resident group) self-administered more heroin than rats that were transferred to the SA chambers immediately before testing (Non-Resident group). Alcohol resembles heroin in its ability to produce, at recreational doses, mood elevation, euphoria, drowsiness, and sedation. Furthermore, alcohol presents some similarities with the mechanisms of action of heroin at the levels of the mesostriatal circuitry. Therefore, we predicted that, as for heroin, alcohol intake would be greater in the Resident than in the Non-Resident group.


In Experiment 1, oral self-administration of ethanol and wine solutions (2.5%, 5%, and 10%, v/v) was assessed in Resident and Non-Resident rats using both one-bottle (three sessions) and two-bottle (seven sessions) tests. In addition, we also assessed the intake of water (Experiment 2) and of 0.04% saccharin-0.003% quinine solution (Experiment 3).


During the one-bottle sessions, alcohol intake of Resident rats was up to two times that of Non-Resident rats. During the two-bottle sessions, Resident rats drank two times more 5% alcohol than water, whereas Non-Resident rats took equal amount of the two fluids. The average daily intake of pure ethanol for Resident rats given access to 5% solutions was 0.71 ± 0.076 vs. 0.46 ± 0.078 g/kg for Non-Resident rats. No group differences in the intake of water and of saccharin-quinine solution were found.


The present report demonstrates at a preclinical level the importance of setting for alcohol self-administration.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion
Depositing User: Lene Hyltoft
Date Deposited: 28 Oct 2015 12:54
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2019 22:46

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