Regional brain levels of monoamines in alcohol-preferring and -nonpreferring lines of rats

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

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226 Scopus citations


Regional brain levels of serotonin (5-HT), 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA), dopamine (DA) and norepinephrine (NE) were determined in alcohol-naive rats from lines selectively bred for alcohol preference (P) and alcohol aversion (nonpreference, NP). Based on comparison by a standard t-test, the P rats had 12% lower NE in the pons-medulla, 20% higher NE and 16% lower DA content in the cerebral cortex (CX) than did the NP rats. However, the predominant finding was that the levels of 5-HT and 5-HIAA were 12-26% lower for the P than for the NP rats in the CX, hippocampus (HIP), corpus striatum (STR), thalamus (TH) and hypothalamus (HY). Regional CNS monoamines from a group of independently bred, stock Wistar rats were also compared with the NP and P groups to determine if the selectively bred rats differed widely from an unselected population. In most instances, the NP and P rats fell within the range of the stock group. When the stock group was included in an analysis of variance of the data, post-hoc differences between the NP and P groups that remained significant were the lower levels of 5-HT (and in some cases 5-HIAA) in the CX, HIP, STR, TH and HY of the P group. In the HY and HIP, the 5-HT levels of the P and NP animals diverged significantly in opposite directions from those of the stock group, possibly suggesting an involvement of these regional serotonergic systems in alcohol preference.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)145-149
Number of pages5
JournalPharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1982


  • 5-Hydroxyindoleacetic acid
  • Alcohol-preferring rats
  • Dopamine
  • Norepinephrine
  • Regional brain monoamines
  • Serotonin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Pharmacology

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