Alcohol-Preferring P Rats Exhibit Elevated Motor Impulsivity Concomitant with Operant Responding and Self-Administration of Alcohol

Steven Wesley Beckwith, Cristine Lynn Czachowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Scopus citations


Background: Increased levels of impulsivity are associated with increased illicit drug use and alcoholism. Previous research in our laboratory has shown that increased levels of delay discounting (a decision-making form of impulsivity) are related to appetitive processes governing alcohol self-administration as opposed to purely consummatory processes. Specifically, the high-seeking/high-drinking alcohol-preferring P rats showed increased delay discounting compared to nonselected Long Evans rats (LE) whereas the high-drinking/moderate-seeking HAD2 rats did not. The P rats also displayed a perseverative pattern of behavior such that during operant alcohol self-administration they exhibited greater resistance to extinction. Methods: One explanation for the previous findings is that P rats have a deficit in response inhibition. This study followed up on this possibility by utilizing a countermanding paradigm (stop signal reaction time [SSRT] task) followed by operant self-administration of alcohol across increasing fixed ratio requirements (FR; 1, 2, 5, 10, and 15 responses). In separate animals, 24-hour access 2-bottle choice (10% EtOH vs. water) drinking was assessed. Results: In the SSRT task, P rats exhibited an increased SSRT compared to both LE and HAD2 rats indicating a decrease in behavioral inhibition in the P rats. Also, P rats showed increased operant self-administration across all FRs and the greatest increase in responding with increasing FR requirements. Conversely, the HAD2 and LE had shorter SSRTs and lower levels of operant alcohol self-administration. However, for 2-bottle choice drinking HAD2s and P rats consumed more EtOH and had a greater preference for EtOH compared to LE. Conclusions: These data extend previous findings showing the P rats to have increased delay discounting (decision-making impulsivity) and suggest that P rats also have a lack of behavioral inhibition (motor impulsivity). This supports the notion that P rats are a highly impulsive as well as "high-seeking" model of alcoholism, and that the HAD2s' elevated levels of alcohol consumption are not mediated via appetitive processes or impulsivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1100-1110
Number of pages11
JournalAlcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2016


  • Alcohol Self-Administration
  • Impulsivity
  • Rat
  • Selected Line

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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