AIMS: Stress-induced anxiety is a risk factor for relapse to alcohol drinking. The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that the central nervous system (CNS)-active α1-adrenergic receptor antagonist, prazosin, would block the stress-induced increase in anxiety that occurs during alcohol deprivations.
METHODS: Selectively bred male alcohol-preferring (P) rats were given three cycles of 5 days of ad libitum voluntary alcohol drinking interrupted by 2 days of alcohol deprivation, with or without 1 h of restraint stress 4 h after the start of each of the first two alcohol deprivation cycles. Prazosin (1.0 or 1.5 mg/kg, IP) or vehicle was administered before each restraint stress. Anxiety-like behavior during alcohol deprivation following the third 5-day cycle of alcohol drinking (7 days after the most recent restraint stress ± prazosin treatment) was measured by performance in an elevated plus-maze and in social approach/avoidance testing.
RESULTS: Rats that received constant alcohol access, or alcohol access and deprivations without stress or prazosin treatments in the first two alcohol deprivations did not exhibit augmented anxiety-like behavior during the third deprivation. In contrast, rats that had been stressed during the first two alcohol deprivations exhibited increased anxiety-like behavior (compared with control rats) in both anxiety tests during the third deprivation. Prazosin given before stresses in the first two cycles of alcohol withdrawal prevented increased anxiety-like behavior during the third alcohol deprivation.
CONCLUSION: Prazosin treatment before stresses experienced during alcohol deprivations may prevent the increased anxiety during subsequent deprivation/abstinence that is a risk factor for relapse to alcohol drinking.
SHORT SUMMARY: Administration of prazosin before stresses during repetitive alcohol deprivations in male alcohol-preferring (P) rats prevents increased anxiety during a subsequent deprivation without further prazosin treatment. Prazosin treatment during repeated alcohol deprivations may prevent the increased anxiety that is a risk factor for relapse to alcohol drinking.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Psychiatry and Mental health