Animal models for medications development targeting alcohol abuse using selectively bred rat lines: Neurobiological and pharmacological validity

Richard L. Bell, Helen J.K. Sable, Giancarlo Colombo, Petri Hyytia, Zachary A. Rodd, Lawrence Lumeng

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

78 Scopus citations


The purpose of this review paper is to present evidence that rat animal models of alcoholism provide an ideal platform for developing and screening medications that target alcohol abuse and dependence. The focus is on the 5 oldest international rat lines that have been selectively bred for a high alcohol-consumption phenotype. The behavioral and neurochemical phenotypes of these rat lines are reviewed and placed in the context of the clinical literature. The paper presents behavioral models for assessing the efficacy of pharmaceuticals for the treatment of alcohol abuse and dependence in rodents, with particular emphasis on rats. Drugs that have been tested for their effectiveness in reducing alcohol/ethanol consumption and/or self-administration by these rat lines and their putative site of action are summarized. The paper also presents some current and future directions for developing pharmacological treatments targeting alcohol abuse and dependence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-155
Number of pages37
JournalPharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 1 2012



  • Animal models of alcoholism
  • Pharmacogenetics
  • Pharmacogenomics
  • Selective breeding
  • Treatment efficacy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Pharmacology
  • Toxicology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Biological Psychiatry

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