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Taste-aversion-prone (TAP) rats and taste-aversion-resistant (TAR) rats differ in ethanol self-administration, but not in ethanol clearance or general consumption

Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.alcohol.2004.03.002
  • Ethanol Clearance
  • Taste Aversion
  • Selectively Bred
  • Tap And Tar Rats
  • Ethanol Consumption
  • Blood Alcohol Concentration


Abstract Taste-aversion (TA)-prone (TAP) rats and TA-resistant (TAR) rats have been developed by means of bidirectional selective breeding on the basis of their behavioral responses to a TA conditioning paradigm. The TA conditioning involved the pairing of an emetic-class agent (cyclophosphamide) with a novel saccharin solution as the conditioned stimulus. Despite the absence of ethanol in the selective breeding process, these rat lines differ widely in ethanol self-administration. In the current study, blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) were determined after 9 days of limited (2 h per day) access to a simultaneous, two-bottle choice of a 10% ethanol in water solution [volume/volume (vol./vol.)] or plain water. The BACs correlated highly with ethanol intake among TAR rats, but an insufficient number of TAP rats yielded measurable BACs to make the same comparison within this rat line. The same rats were subsequently exposed to 24-h access of a two-bottle choice (10% ethanol or plain water) for 8 days. Ethanol consumption during the 24-h access period correlated highly with that seen during limited access. Subsequent TA conditioning with these rats yielded line-typical differences in saccharin preferences. In a separate group of rats, ethanol clearance was determined by measuring BACs at 1, 4, and 7 h after injection of a 2.5-g/kg dose of ethanol. Ethanol clearance was not different between the two lines. Furthermore, the lines did not differ with respect to food and water consumption. Therefore, the TAP rat–TAR rat differences in ethanol consumption cannot be attributed to line differences in ethanol metabolism or in general consummatory behavior. The findings support our contention that the line differences in ethanol consumption are mediated by differences in TA-related mechanisms. The findings are discussed with respect to genetically based differences in the subjective experience of ethanol.

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