The alcohol-preferring (P) and high-alcohol-drinking (HAD) rats - Animal models of alcoholism

William J. McBride, Zachary A. Rodd, Richard L. Bell, Lawrence Lumeng, Ting Kai Li

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

58 Scopus citations


The objective of this article is to review the literature on the utility of using the selectively bred alcohol-preferring (P) and high-alcohol-drinking (HAD) lines of rats in studies examining high alcohol drinking in adults and adolescents, craving-like behavior, and the co-abuse of alcohol with other drugs. The P line of rats meets all of the originally proposed criteria for a suitable animal model of alcoholism. In addition, the P rat exhibits high alcohol-seeking behavior, demonstrates an alcohol deprivation effect (ADE) under relapse drinking conditions, consumes amounts of ethanol during adolescence equivalent to those consumed in adulthood, and co-abuses ethanol and nicotine. The P line also exhibits excessive binge-like alcohol drinking, attaining blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) of 200 mg% on a daily basis. The HAD replicate lines of rats have not been as extensively studied as the P rats. The HAD1,2 rats satisfy several of the criteria for an animal model of alcoholism, e.g., these rats will voluntarily consume ethanol in a free-choice situation to produce BACs between 50 and 200 mg%. The HAD1,2 rats also exhibit an ADE under repeated relapse conditions, and will demonstrate similar levels of ethanol intake during adolescence as seen in adults. Overall, the P and HAD1,2 rats have characteristics attributed to an early onset alcoholic, and can be used to study various aspects of alcohol use disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)209-215
Number of pages7
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2014


  • Alcohol-preferring (P) rat
  • Alcohol-seeking behavior
  • Animal model of alcoholism
  • Binge drinking
  • High-alcohol-drinking (HAD) rat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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