Adolescent alcohol drinking and its long-range consequences. Studies with animal models.

William J. McBride, Richard L. Bell, Zachary A. Rodd, Wendy N. Strother, James M. Murphy

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

43 Scopus citations


This chapter reviews findings, mainly obtained from the selectively bred alcohol-preferring (P) line of rats, on (a) the development of alcohol drinking during the peri-adolescent period, (b) neurobiological factors that may contribute to adolescent drinking, (c) interventions to prevent alcohol drinking during adolescence, and (d) some long-lasting consequences of adolescent alcohol drinking. The findings indicate that P rats readily initiate alcohol drinking during the early post-weaning, adolescent and peri-adolescent periods of development. The early age-of-onset of alcohol drinking in the P compared to the NP line is associated with (a) higher densities of serotonin-1A (5-HT1A) receptors in cerebral cortical and hippocampal regions; (b) lower densities of dopamine (DA) D2 receptors in the ventral tegmental area (VTA); (c) higher functional activity in several limbic, cortical and hippocampal regions; and (d) sensitivity to the low-dose stimulating effect of ethanol. Conditioned taste aversion (CTA) training during adolescence produces long-term effects on preventing high alcohol drinking behavior of P rats. Alcohol drinking during peri-adolescence by P rats produces long-lasting effects that increase the acquisition of ethanol self-administration in adulthood, and, in addition, increase craving-like behavior and the potential for alcohol relapse. With suitable animal models, a better understanding of the mechanisms underlying adolescent alcohol drinking and its long-range consequences can be attained.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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