Author(s): Blizard DA, McClearn GE
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Abstract BACKGROUND: A substantial body of literature indicates that intakes of "sweet" solutions and ethanol are positively correlated across inbred strains of rats and mice but there has been speculation that the correlation is fortuitous and there is no agreement on the underlying mechanism. METHODS AND RESULTS: We assessed the correlation between intake of sucrose and ethanol in congenic mice created by backcrossing alleles favoring sucrose intake from the BXD RI-5 strain into DBA/2J. In addition, to probe more specifically the interrelationship between intake of the two solutions, we examined aversion generalization from sucrose to ethanol in C57BL/6J mice. Among the congenic mice, a statistically significant product-moment correlation of r = 0.36 (p < 0.02) was found between 6-hr intake of sucrose corrected for differences in baseline water intake and preference for 10\% ethanol presented in a 96-hr 2-bottle test. Furthermore, C57BL/6J male mice conditioned to avoid a 0.2 M sucrose solution generalized their aversion to a 10\% ethanol solution presented in the same 2-bottle test, drinking 42.1 +/- 9.38\% (mean +/- SE) of their total fluid intake from the ethanol tube, compared with the control group mean of 69.86 +/- 8.84\%. CONCLUSIONS: The positive association between intake of sucrose and ethanol in congenic mice provides strong evidence that the previously demonstrated genetic correlation between intake of these solutions is not the result of fortuitous fixation of unrelated alleles and provides suggestive evidence that, at least in the B6/D2 lineage, the genetic association between intakes of the two solutions reflects close linkage or the pleiotropic effects of the same genes. The demonstration that a conditioned taste aversion to sucrose generalized to ethanol in the C57BL/6J inbred mouse strain is an extension of similar observations in outbred rats and specifically demonstrates that intake of the two solutions is controlled by some of the same physiologic or neurological processes and thus is consistent with the pleiotropic interpretation of the genetic correlation.
This article was published in Alcohol Clin Exp Res
and referenced in Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy