Effects of naltrexone on post-abstinence alcohol drinking in C57BL/6NCRL and DBA/2J mice

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Abstract

The present experiment evaluated the effects of naltrexone, a non-selective opioid receptor antagonist, on post-abstinence alcohol drinking in C57BL/6NCRL and DBA/2J male mice. Home cage 2-bottle (alcohol vs. water) free-choice procedures were employed. During the pre-abstinence period, alcohol intake was much lower for the DBA/2J mice relative to the C57BL/6NCRL mice, and this strain difference was observed for groups receiving either 3% or 10% alcohol concentrations. The four-day abstinence period effectively reduced alcohol intakes (i.e., a negative alcohol deprivation effect, negative ADE) in both groups of DBA/2J mice, but had no effect on alcohol intakes in either group of C57BL/6NCRL mice. Both groups trained with 3% alcohol received the second four-day abstinence period, where the effects of acute administration of either naltrexone or saline on post-abstinence alcohol drinking were assessed. Naltrexone was more effective in reducing post-abstinence drinking of 3% alcohol in the DBA/2J mice than in the C57BL/6NCRL mice. In the DBA/2J mice, naltrexone further reduced, relative to saline-injected controls, the low levels of post-abstinence alcohol intake. Thus, the low baseline levels of alcohol drinking in DBA/2J mice were further diminished by the four-day abstinence period (negative ADE), and this suppressed post-abstinence level of alcohol drinking was still further reduced by acute administration of naltrexone. The results indicate that naltrexone is effective in reducing further the low levels of alcohol drinking induced by the negative ADE.

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