Author(s): Zhang Z, Morse AC, Koob GF, Schulteis G
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Withdrawal from acute bolus intraperitoneal (IP) injection of high doses of ethanol elicits anxiety-like behavior (e.g. Doremus et al., 2003; Gauvin et al., 1989, 1992) and conditioned place aversion (Morse et al., 2000). More recently we demonstrated that withdrawal from a single moderate dose of ethanol (2.0 g/kg) is accompanied by elevations in brain reward thresholds, and that repeated intermittent treatment with this dose results in a significant potentiation of reward deficit (Schulteis and Liu, 2006). METHODS: In the current study, the time- and dose-dependent emergence of anxiety-like behavior was measured in the elevated plus-maze at various times (3 to 24 hours) after acute or 3 daily IP injections of ethanol (1.0, 2.0, or 3.0 g/kg). Rats receiving daily handling for 2 days, and a single anxiety opportunity to explore the maze on a third day were divided into 1 of several treatment protocols: (1) NAIVE conditions: vehicle IP on all 3 days; (2) ACUTE conditions: vehicle on the first 2 days, ethanol on the third day; or (3) REPEAT conditions: ethanol on all 3 days. RESULTS: ACUTE ethanol elicited reduced exploration of the open arms of the elevated plus-maze in a dose- and time-dependent fashion: 1.0 g/kg failed to elicit any significant effects, whereas 2.0 and 3.0 g/kg ethanol elicited a significant anxiety-like response at 6 hours and 9 to 12 hours postinjection, respectively. REPEAT treatment was still without effect at any time point tested following 1.0 g/kg ethanol, but extended the time course of anxiety-like behavior after treatment with either 2.0 or 3.0 g/kg doses. REPEAT treatment with 2.0 and 3.0 g/kg ethanol also produced significant hypoactivity in the maze at some time points postinjection. CONCLUSIONS: Withdrawal from a single exposure to ethanol produces transient but significant anxiety-like behavior, and repeated intermittent bouts of intoxication result in a significant extension of the duration of effect. The rapid emergence and progression of negative emotional signs of withdrawal may be a significant factor in determining susceptibility to transition from casual drinking to loss of control and escalating patterns of consumption that result in alcoholism.
This article was published in Alcohol Clin Exp Res
and referenced in Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy