This research was initiated to assess the turnover rates (TORs) of dopamine (DA), norepinephrine (NA), serotonin (5-HT), aspartate, glutamate, and GABA in brain regions during rodent ethanol/sucrose (EtOH) and sucrose (SUC) drinking and in animals with a history of EtOH or SUC drinking to further characterize the neuronal systems that underlie compulsive consumption. Groups of five male rats were used, with two trained to drink EtOH solutions, two to drink SUC and one to serve as a non-drinking control. When stable drinking patterns were obtained, rats were pulse labeled intravenously and killed 60 or 90 min later and the TORs of DA, norepinephrine, 5-HT, aspartate, glutamate, and GABA determined in brain regions. Changes in the TOR of 5-HT, DA, and NA were detected specific to EtOH drinking, SUC drinking or a history of EtOH or SUC drinking. An acute EtOH deprivation effect was detected that was mostly reversed with EtOH drinking. These results suggest that binge-like drinking of moderate amounts of EtOH produces a deficit in neuronal function that could set the stage for the alleviation of anhedonic stimuli with further EtOH intake that strengthen EtOH seeking behaviors which may contribute to increased EtOH use in at risk individuals.
J. Neurochem. (2008) 105, 2134–2155.