Loi, Barbara and Colombo, Giancarlo and Maccioni, Paola and Carai, Mauro A. M. and Franconi, Flavia and Gessa, Gian Luigi (2014) High alcohol intake in female Sardinian alcohol-preferring rats. Alcohol, Vol. 48 (4), p. 345-351. ISSN 0741-8329. eISSN 1873-6823. Article.
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Sardinian alcohol-preferring (sP) rats have been selectively bred for high alcohol preference and consumption. When exposed to the standard, home cage 2-bottle “alcohol (10%, v/v) vs. water” choice regimen with continuous access, male sP rats consume daily approximately 6 g/kg alcohol. Conversely, when exposed to the intermittent (once every other day) access to 2 bottles containing alcohol (20%, v/v) and water, respectively, male sP rats display marked increases in daily alcohol intake and signs of alcohol intoxication and “behavioral” dependence. The present study was designed to assess alcohol intake in female sP rats exposed, under the 2-bottle choice regimen, to (a) 10% (v/v) alcohol with continuous access (CA10%), (b) 10% (v/v) alcohol with intermittent access (IA10%), (c) 20% (v/v) alcohol with continuous access (CA20%), and (d) 20% (v/v) alcohol with intermittent access (IA20%). Male sP rats (exposed to CA10% and IA20% conditions) were included for comparison. Over 20 daily drinking sessions, daily alcohol intake in female CA10% and IA20% rats averaged 7.0 and 9.6 g/kg, respectively. The rank of alcohol intake was IA20% > IA10% ¼ CA20% > CA10%. Conversely, daily alcohol intake in male CA10% and IA20% rats averaged 6.0 and 8.2 g/kg, respectively. Comparison of female and male rats yielded the following rank of alcohol intake: female IA20% > male IA20% > female CA10% male CA10%. An additional experiment found that alcohol drinking during the first hour of the drinking session produced mean blood alcohol levels of 35e40 mg% and 85e100 mg% in the CA10% and IA20% rats, respectively. These results (a) extend to female sP rats previous data demonstrating the capacity of the IA20% condition to markedly escalate alcohol drinking, and (b) demonstrate that female sP rats consume more alcohol than male sP rats. This sex difference is more evident under the IA20% condition, suggesting that female sP rats are highly sensitive to the promoting effect of the IA20% condition on alcohol drinking. These data contribute to the characterization of sP rats as a model of excessive alcohol consumption.
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