Varenicline Reduces Alcohol Intake During Repeated Cycles of Alcohol Reaccess Following Deprivation in Alcohol-Preferring (P) Rats

Janice C. Froehlich, Emily R. Nicholson, Julian E. Dilley, Nick J. Filosa, Logan C. Rademacher, Teal N. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Most alcoholics experience periods of voluntary alcohol abstinence or imposed alcohol deprivation followed by a return to alcohol drinking. This study examined whether varenicline (VAR) reduces alcohol intake during a return to drinking after periods of alcohol deprivation in rats selectively bred for high alcohol drinking (the alcohol preferring or “P” rats). Methods: Alcohol-experienced P rats were given 24-hour access to food and water and scheduled access to alcohol (15% and 30% v/v) for 2 h/d. After 4 weeks, rats were deprived of alcohol for 2 weeks, followed by reaccess to alcohol for 2 weeks, and this pattern was repeated for a total of 3 cycles. Rats were fed either vehicle (VEH) or VAR, in doses of 0.5, 1.0, or 2.0 mg/kg BW, at 1 hour prior to onset of the daily alcohol reaccess period for the first 5 days of each of the 3 alcohol reaccess cycles. Results: Low-dose VAR (0.5 mg/kg BW) reduced alcohol intake during the 5 days of drug treatment in alcohol reaccess cycles 1 and 2. Higher doses of VAR (1.0 mg/kg BW and 2.0 mg/kg BW) reduced alcohol intake during the 5 days of treatment in all 3 alcohol reaccess cycles. The decrease in alcohol intake disappeared with termination of VAR treatment in all alcohol reaccess cycles. Conclusions: The results demonstrate that VAR decreases alcohol intake during multiple cycles of alcohol reaccess following alcohol deprivation in rats and suggests that it may prevent a return to heavy alcohol drinking during a lapse from alcohol abstinence in humans with alcohol use disorder.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1510-1517
Number of pages8
JournalAlcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Volume41
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2017

Keywords

  • Alcohol
  • Alcohol Deprivation
  • Alcohol-Preferring (P) Rats
  • Alcoholism Pharmacotherapies
  • Varenicline

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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