A 3-day exposure to 10% ethanol with 10% sucrose successfully initiates ethanol self-administration

Jennifer Carrillo, Elaina C. Howard, Misbah Moten, Brenda D. Houck, Cristine L. Czachowski, Rueben A. Gonzales

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Scopus citations


The initiation phase of ethanol self-administration is difficult to study using the well-established, sucrose-fading procedure due to the changing concentrations of ethanol in the first few days. The purpose of this experiment was to test whether a modified sucrose-substitution procedure in which rats are initially exposed to high concentrations of ethanol and sucrose for three days would successfully initiate ethanol self-administration. Male Long-Evans rats were trained to lever-press with a 10% sucrose solution in which four or 20 responses allowed 20-min access to the solution. Subsequently, rats were exposed to a 3-day period of operant self-administration of 10% sucrose + 10% ethanol. This constant-concentration exposure was followed by the standard procedure in which sucrose is completely faded out. The establishment of ethanol self-administration was determined by ethanol intake, pre- and postprocedure two-bottle choice preference tests, and extinction trials. The mean ethanol intake was 2.2 times higher on day 2 compared with day 1 on the 10% sucrose + 10% ethanol solution. After fading out the sucrose, the daily intake of 10% ethanol solution over 5 days was stable at approximately 0.57 g/kg. Ethanol preference was approximately threefold higher after the modified sucrose-fading procedure. Responding during a single session extinction test was dramatically increased from 4 to 61 ± 13 or 20 to 112 ± 22 responses in 20 min. Similar to the standard sucrose-fading method, we did not observe a significant relationship between extinction responding and ethanol intake. Blood alcohol concentrations were 4.5 mM 20 min after consumption began. We conclude that initiation and establishment of ethanol self-administration will occur using this modified sucrose-fading procedure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171-178
Number of pages8
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2008


  • Extinction
  • Lickometer
  • Operant self-administration
  • Preference
  • Sucrose-fading

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Medicine(all)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Toxicology
  • Health(social science)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'A 3-day exposure to 10% ethanol with 10% sucrose successfully initiates ethanol self-administration'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this