Behavioral and Biochemical Correlates of Alcohol Drinking Preference: Studies on the Selectively Bred P and NP Rats

Lawrence Lumeng, James M. Murphy, William J. McBride, Ting‐Kai ‐K Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


Abstract: The alcohol‐preferring P and alcohol‐nonpreferring NP lines of rates have been selectively bred and used to study the behavioral and biochemical correlates of alcohol‐seeking behavior. The P rats satisfy all the perceived criteria for an animal model of alcoholism. Specifically, free‐fed P rats voluntarily drink alcoholic solutions (10 to 30% v/v) to intoxication; they bar‐press to obtain alcohol and self‐administer ethanol intragastrically when food and water are available; and they acquire metabolic and neuronal tolerance and develop physical dependence when they drink alcohol chronically in a free‐choice situation. The spontaneous motor activity in the P rats, but not in the NP rats, is stimulated acutely by low doses of alcohol. With a single hypnotic dose of ethanol, acute tolerance develops faster and to a greater degree and persists many days longer in the P than in the NP rats. These differences in response to ethanol may explain the disparate alcohol drinking behaviors of the P and NP rats. Biochemically, the P rats exhibit decreased serotonin levels in several brain regions including the nucleus accumbens. Serotonin uptake inhibitors curtail the alcohol drinking of the P rats suggesting a role of serotonin in mediating alcohol preference. 1988 Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17-20
Number of pages4
JournalAustralian Drug and Alcohol Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1988


  • Alcohol drinking
  • alcohol
  • alcoholism
  • animal
  • disease models
  • ethyl
  • rats
  • serotonin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health(social science)

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