Acoustic startle reactivity during acute alcohol withdrawal in rats that differ in genetic predisposition toward alcohol drinking: Effect of stimulus characteristics

Julia A. Chester, Annette M. Blose, Janice C. Froehlich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

32 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: We have previously reported an association between greater alcohol withdrawal magnitude after a single alcohol exposure and a genetic predisposition toward low alcohol drinking in rats selectively bred for differences in alcohol intake when acoustic startle reactivity to a tone stimulus was used to index acute alcohol withdrawal. The purpose of this study was to examine whether the quality of the acoustic startle stimulus (noise versus tone) is important for detecting a genetic relationship between alcohol withdrawal magnitude and alcohol drinking behavior. Methods: Alcohol-naive male rats selectively bred for high alcohol intake [alcohol-preferring (P), high-alcohol-drinking (HAD)1, and HAD2] or low alcohol intake [alcohol-nonpreferring (NP), low-alcohol-drinking (LAD)1, and LAD2] received a single intragastric infusion of water or alcohol (4.0 g/20.3 ml/kg; 25% v/v), and acoustic startle test sessions were given at 14, 16, 18, 20, and 24 hr after infusion. Each test session consisted of a 5-min acclimation period followed by random presentation of various white noise stimuli (90, 100, 110, and 120 dB.) Results: Line differences in acoustic startle magnitude under control conditions were present in all three pairs of selectively bred lines; P rats showed a greater startle magnitude relative to NP rats, whereas both LAD lines showed a greater startle magnitude relative to both HAD lines. During alcohol withdrawal, the P, HAD1, and HAD2 lines showed enhanced startle magnitude compared with their water-treated controls. No change in startle magnitude during alcohol withdrawal was found in the NP, LAD1, or LAD2 lines. Conclusions: In contrast to our prior findings, these results showed a genetic association between high alcohol drinking and a greater startle response magnitude to a noise stimulus during alcohol withdrawal. It seems that the genetic association between alcohol drinking and alcohol withdrawal, as assessed by the acoustic startle response, depends on the quality of the acoustic startle stimulus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)677-687
Number of pages11
JournalAlcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Volume28
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2004

Keywords

  • Acoustic Startle
  • Alcohol Drinking
  • Alcohol Withdrawal
  • Genetics
  • Selected Lines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Toxicology

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