Effects of Rat Strain and Method of Inducing Ethanol Drinking on Pavlovian-Instrumental-Transfer with Ethanol-Paired Conditioned Stimuli

R J Lamb, Brett C Ginsburg, Alexander Greig, Charles W Schindler
Alcohol 2019 January 11
Ethanol-paired Conditioned Stimuli are widely thought to invigorate ethanol responding, and thus, precipitate relapse to drinking. However, preclinical studies investigating this issue using Pavlovian Instrumental Transfer (PIT) procedures have had mixed results, with some studies finding PIT while others did not. The studies failing to show PIT used Lewis rats and induced ethanol drinking using a post-prandial drinking procedure. The present experiments examined whether either of these two variables influenced the magnitude of PIT observed. In the first experiment, ethanol drinking in Lewis rats was induced using either sucrose fading or post-prandial drinking. In the second experiment, ethanol drinking was induced using post-prandial drinking in either Long-Evans Hooded or Lewis rats. In both experiments, rats were trained to respond for ethanol under a Random Interval schedule. Subsequently with the lever removed, 2-minute light presentations were paired with ethanol deliveries. Finally, with the lever returned, the effect of light presentations on responding was tested while responding was in extinction. Light presentations similarly affected responding in Lewis rats regardless of the method of drinking induction. Likewise, light presentations similarly affected responding in both Lewis and Long-Evans Hooded rats. Neither ethanol induction method nor rat strain affected the magnitude of PIT observed and thus, neither likely explains previous failures to observe PIT with ethanol-maintained behavior.

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