Anxiety- and depressive-like traits in Warsaw alcohol high-preferring (WHP) and Warsaw alcohol low-preferring (WLP) rats

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Anxiety, depression, and alcohol use disorders often go together. The aim of the present study was to evaluate anxiety- and depressive-like traits in selectively bred Warsaw alcohol high-preferring (WHP) and Warsaw alcohol low-preferring (WLP) rats. Alcohol-naïve WHP rats were more active in the open field test as compared to alcohol-naïve WLP rats. WHP rats made more central entries and spent more time in the central sector of the open field, i.e. presented less “neophobia”, as compared to WLP subjects. The latter difference remained significant after controlling for the difference in locomotor activity as the anti-thigmotaxis ratio was also higher in WHP subjects. WHPs presented less freezing (i.e. less conditioned fear) than WLPs in the fear conditioning test. The difference in conditioned fear could not be explained by different pain sensitivity as the lines did not differ in pain threshold assessed in the flinch-jump test. WHPs were slightly less immobile in the Porsolt forced swim test as compared to WLPs. In conclusion, the present results suggest that alcohol high-preferring WHP rats show less anxiety- and depressive-like behavior than their low-preferring WLP counterparts.

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