CB1 receptors regulate alcohol-seeking behavior and alcohol self-administration of alcohol-preferring (P) rats

Bruk Getachew, Sheketha R. Hauser, Ronnie Dhaher, Simon N. Katner, Richard L. Bell, Scott M. Oster, William J. McBride, Zachary A. Rodd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Rationale: The endogenous cannabinoid (CB) system mediates a number of behaviors associated with drug-seeking and drug self-administration. In this study the effects of CB1 receptor manipulations on operant ethanol (EtOH) responding during EtOH-seeking, EtOH-relapse as well as on-going EtOH self-administration were determined. Methods: Alcohol-preferring (P) rats were trained in 2-lever operant chambers to self-administer 15% EtOH (v/v) and water on a concurrent fixed-ratio 5-fixed-ratio 1 (FR5-FR1) schedule of reinforcement in daily 1-h sessions. After 10 weeks, rats underwent 7 extinction sessions, followed by 2 weeks in their home cages without access to EtOH or operant chambers. Rats were then returned to the operant chambers for testing of EtOH-seeking behavior (no EtOH present) for 4 sessions. After a week in their home cages following the EtOH-seeking test, rats were returned to the operant chambers with access to EtOH and water (relapse). Rats were then maintained in the operant chambers for daily 1-h sessions with access to 15% EtOH and water for several weeks. Results: The CB1 receptor antagonist (SR141716A), at doses of 1 and 2 mg/kg, i.p. reduced EtOH-seeking and transiently reduced EtOH self-administration during relapse and maintenance. Conversely, treatment with the CB1 receptor agonist CP 55, 940, at doses of 1 and 10 μg/kg i.p., increased EtOH-seeking and EtOH self-administration during relapse. Conclusions: The results of this study demonstrate that activation of CB1 receptors are involved in regulating EtOH-seeking as well as the reinforcing effects of EtOH under relapse and on-going self-administration conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)669-675
Number of pages7
JournalPharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 2011


  • CB1 agonist
  • CB1 antagonist
  • CP 55, 940
  • Ethanol relapse
  • Ethanol seeking
  • Ethanol self-administration
  • Operant
  • Pavlovian Spontaneous Recovery
  • SR141716A

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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