Oral drug self-administration in the home cage of mice: alcohol-heightened aggression and inhibition by the 5-HT1B agonist anpirtoline
Miczek KA, de Almeida RM.
Department of Psychology,
Bacon Hall, Tufts University, 530 Boston Ave.,
Medford, MA 02155, USA. kmiczek@emerald.tufts.edu
Psychopharmacology (Berl) 2001 Oct;157(4):421-9


RATIONALE: In order to model heightened aggression after alcohol consumption and to study the inhibitory influence of 5-HT1B receptors on drinking and fighting, an experimental procedure should enable self-administration of precise amounts of alcohol in a limited period of time before an aggressive confrontation. OBJECTIVES: To design a new device that can reinforce operant responding by the delivery of sweet alcohol in the resident mouse home cage, where aggressive behavior toward an intruder can subsequently be examined, and to demonstrate inhibition of alcohol-heightened aggression by 5-HT1B receptor agonist treatment. METHODS: Within one experimental session, all singly housed CFW male mice (n=26) performed a nose-poke response that was reinforced by 0.05 ml sucrose. Using the sucrose fading technique, eventually the mice consumed a 6% ethanol/4% sucrose solution after each fifth nose poke during daily 15-min experimental sessions. The number of ethanol reinforcements was adjusted so that 0.6, 1.0, 1.7, and 3.0-g/kg doses were consumed in 15 min or less. Assays confirmed blood alcohol levels at 68.1 mg/dl for intake of 1.0 g/kg. After consuming a specific dose of ethanol in the form of a fixed number of response-dependent deliveries, the response panel was removed from the home cage and, 15 min later, the resident confronted a male intruder. Anpirtoline was administered either before alcohol self-administration or before the aggressive confrontation. RESULTS: After being reinforced with 1.0 g/kg or 1.7 g/kg sweet ethanol, the mice significantly increased attack and threat behavior relative to their aggressive behavior following sucrose or water consumption only. Treatment with the 5-HT1B receptor agonist anpirtoline (0.125, 0.25, 0.5 mg/kg, i.p.) before the confrontation decreased alcohol-heightened aggression and species-typical aggression in the absence of changes in other elements of the behavioral repertoire. Anpirtoline affected ethanol-reinforced behavior only at doses that were 5-10 times higher than those producing anti-aggressive effects. CONCLUSIONS: Self-administration of alcohol in the home cage of mice is readily accomplished with the aid of a simple, removable panel. The effective inhibition of high levels of aggressive behavior due to alcohol consumption after anpirtoline treatment confirm the 5-HT1B receptor as a critical site in the termination of aggression.
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