Does context influence the duration of locomotor sensitization to ethanol in female DBA/2J mice?
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- Boehm, S.L., Goldfarb, K.J., Serio, K.M. et al. Psychopharmacology (2008) 197: 191. doi:10.1007/s00213-007-1022-6
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Repeated exposure to ethanol produces a progressive increase in locomotor sensitivity, referred to as locomotor sensitization. Locomotor sensitization may persist for some time after termination of repeated drug exposure, and context appears to facilitate expression of the behavioral phenomenon. However, many unanswered questions remain concerning the persistence of and degree to which context influences locomotor sensitization to alcohol (ethanol).
The goal of the present work was to determine the duration of locomotor sensitization to ethanol and the degree to which context dependence positively influences the induction, expression, and persistence of the behavioral phenomenon in female DBA/2J mice.
Materials and methods
Sensitized (with or without ethanol-paired exposure to the testing chamber) and non-sensitized saline control mice were left undisturbed in their home cages until subsequent ethanol challenge and testing in the locomotor activity testing chambers 7, 14, 21, 28, 42, 56, and/or 70 days after cessation of the ethanol sensitization procedure. Retro-orbital sinus bloods were sampled to determine whether the sensitization procedure had altered blood ethanol clearance rates.
Locomotor sensitization persisted through post-sensitization day 14, and repeated paring of the drug and testing context prolonged the expression of this phenomenon through at least post-sensitization day 28. Blood ethanol concentrations did not differ.
Locomotor sensitization to ethanol persists for some time after cessation of repeated ethanol exposure, and the association of contextual cues with the ethanol experience lengthens this persistence. The present data lay the groundwork for investigations into the neuroadaptive changes that underlie locomotor sensitization to ethanol in mice.