University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
Subject Listing - Psychology
Advisor: Dr. Julie Broadbent
Saturday, Poster Session 6, Presentation Kiosk 31 A, Health & Fitness Center
MOTIVATIONAL EFFECTS OF ALCOHOL IN MICE
Abuse of alcohol negatively affects a great percentage of the American population and is estimated to cost $185 billion annually. Treatment of alcoholism would be improved if the genes influencing this disease could be identified. The purpose of this project is to determine if a current animal model of excessive drinking that has been used to examine the genetic basis of alcoholism, the C57BL/6J (B6) and DBA/2J (D2) mouse model, is indeed valid; an invalid model would render interpretations of genetic analysis of ethanol consumption inconclusive.
A valid model of excessive drinking should include voluntary consumption of sufficient quantities of ethanol to produce reinforcing pharmacological effects analogous to those felt by humans. Previous studies have shown that D2 mice rarely consume enough ethanol to attain said effects, although they are sensitive to the rewarding effects of ethanol as shown by iv-self administration and conditioned place preference. In addition, although B6 mice willingly consume substantial amounts of ethanol, they decrease their consumption when offered a more palatable solution, such as sucrose. Hence, it seems that the amount of ethanol B6 and D2 mice drink is substantially influenced by pre-absorptive effects of ethanol such as taste. To test this hypothesis, we will examine the response of each strain to the taste of ethanol using taste reactivity testing.
We will surgically insert oral cannula tubes into each mouse, allowing for direct administration of water, sucrose, and ethanol solutions into the mouth. We will then perform a series of taste-reactivity tests; reactions to the solutions will be video-recorded and scored. We anticipate that B6 mice will find the taste of ethanol solutions pleasurable while D2 mice will find it aversive. Such results would indicate that taste rather than the reinforcing pharmacological effects of ethanol are the main motivational factor in consumption of ethanol by B6 and D2 mice.
Advisor: Dr. Julie Broadbent, Research Assistant Professor, Medical School, Psychiatry Department, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI