Alcoholism: Is It a Model for the Study of Disorders of Mood and Consummately Behavior?


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Depression, eating disorders, and carbohydrate craving are frequently seen in alcoholics or recovering alcoholics. Accordingly, these disorders may share some mediating pathways. It is now well-established that there is a genetic predisposition to alcoholism. Through genetic means, our laboratory has developed an animal model of alcoholism. Free-fed Wistar rats were selectively bred for the traits of alcohol-preference (the P line) and non-preference (the NP line). After more than 20 generations of selection, the lines show a stable difference of more than six-fold in voluntary ethanol consumption. We have now shown that the P line satisfies all the perceived requirements of an animal model of alcoholism. One major discovered difference between the P and the NP line is the lowered content of serotonin in certain brain regions of the P rats. Interestingly, fluoxetine curbs the alcohol-seeking behavior of the P rats; variation in the carbohydrate content of the diet, however, does not modify voluntary ethanol intake. The P rats are similar in body weight to the NP rats, but are more active in a novel environment than the NP rats.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)239-249
Number of pages11
JournalAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • History and Philosophy of Science

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