Effects of multiple alcohol deprivations on operant ethanol self-administration by high-alcohol-drinking replicate rat lines

Scott M. Oster, Jamie E. Toalston, Kelly A. Kuc, Tylene J. Pommer, James M. Murphy, Lawrence Lumeng, Richard L. Bell, William J. McBride, Zachary A. Rodd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

34 Scopus citations


Previously, we reported that the expression of an alcohol deprivation effect (ADE) under 24-h free-choice alcohol-drinking access in high-alcohol-drinking (HAD) replicate lines of rats is dependent upon repeated cycles of alcohol access and forced abstinence. In the present study, operant techniques (including progressive ratio measures) were used to examine the effects of initial deprivation length and number of deprivation cycles on the magnitude and duration of the ADE in HAD rats to test the hypothesis that repeated deprivations increase the reinforcing effects of ethanol. Adult male HAD-1 and HAD-2 rats were trained in two-lever operant chambers to concurrently self-administer 15% ethanol (v/v) on a fixed-ratio (FR)-5 schedule and water on an FR-1 schedule of reinforcement in daily 1-h sessions. Following 10 weeks of daily 1-h sessions, the HAD-1 and HAD-2 rats were randomly assigned to one of four groups (n = 6-8/group/line): nondeprived, or deprived of alcohol for 2, 5, or 8 weeks. Following this initial period, the deprived groups were given 15% ethanol again in the operant chambers for a 2-week period, following which they were deprived again for 2 weeks (all three deprived groups). Following the fifth deprivation, the rats underwent a progressive ratio test to determine the breakpoints for the nondeprived and deprived groups. The expression of an ADE under operant conditions in HAD rats was dependent upon exposure to repeated cycles of ethanol access and abstinence. Additionally, repeated deprivations increased both the magnitude and the duration of the ADE as indicated by increased responding on the ethanol lever for more sessions. Breakpoint values for the deprived groups were 1.5-fold and twofold higher than the value for the nondeprived group for the HAD-1 and HAD-2 rats, respectively. The results suggest that repeated alcohol deprivations increased the expression of an ADE and the reinforcing effects of ethanol in both HAD replicate lines of rats, and these effects were more pronounced in the HAD-2 line than the HAD-1 line.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)155-164
Number of pages10
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2006


  • Alcohol deprivation effect
  • High-alcohol-drinking rats
  • Operant self-administration
  • Progressive ratio
  • Repeated deprivations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Medicine(all)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Toxicology
  • Health(social science)

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