Operant responding for oral ethanol in the alcohol-preferring P and alcohol-nonpreferring NP lines of rats

J. M. Murphy, G. J. Gatto, W. J. McBride, L. Lumeng, T. K. Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

93 Scopus citations


Rats of the P (n=4) and NP (n=5) lines were housed in operant chambers with food available ad lib, but all liquid was obtained by responding on either of two levers according to a FR5 schedule. Presses on one lever produced water from an automated dipper, while the other lever gave access to a dipper containing ethanol in concentrations ranging from 2 to 30% (v/v). P rats worked to obtain the ethanol at all concentrations offered and preferred the ethanol over water. The highest ethanol intake averaged 7.7±0.5 g/kg body weight/day at the 15% concentration and at least 5.8±0.9 g/kg/day for the 20-30% range. The NP rats responded more for the 2 and 5% concentrations of ethanol than for water, but responded predominately for water when the ethanol concentrations were 10% and higher. In a second experiment, NP rats drank water rather than 10% ethanol by free-choice, even though the ethanol was mixed with a preferred flavor and the water with a nonpreferred flavor. The findings indicate that ethanol is rewarding to P rats in concentrations up to 30% (v/v) but is not rewarding to NP rats when the concentration is 10% and above.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)127-131
Number of pages5
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1989


  • Alcohol drinking behavior
  • Alcohol-nonpreferring rats
  • Alcohol-preferring rats
  • Ethanol reinforcement
  • Operant behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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