Skip to main content
Log in

Effects of serotonin depletion on the volitional alcohol intake of rats during a condition of psychological stress

  • Original Investigations
  • Published:
Psychopharmacologia Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Summary

Non-preferred solutions of ethyl alcohol, that were slightly above preference threshold, were offered together with water to rats which were trained to avoid foot shock by pressing a lever. Intake of alcohol increased significantly when the rats were stressed by intermittent, random unavoidable shock. When levels of brain serotonin were lowered by p-chlorophenylalanine (pCPA), a potent inhibitor of tryptophan hydroxylase, the selection of alcohol declined during the period of random punishment to the pre-stress baseline intakes. The depletion of serotonin during the stress period reduced alcohol preference particularly in those rats which drank the largest amounts of alcohol. These findings extend those of an earlier report that pCPA lowers alcohol intake in non-stressed rats which drank alcohol solutions within the normal range of preference.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Similar content being viewed by others

References

  • Bonnycastle, D. D., M. F. Bonnycastle, and E. G. Anderson: The effect of a number of central depressant drugs upon brain 5-hydroxytryptamine levels in the rat. J. Pharmacol. exp. Ther. 135, 17–20 (1962).

    Google Scholar 

  • Cicero, T. J., and R. D. Myers: Selection of a single ethanol test solution in freechoice studies with animals. Quart. J. Stud. Alcohol. 29, 446–448 (1968a).

    Google Scholar 

  • — —: Facilitation of discriminated avoidance learning by prior operant training Psychol. Rep. 22, 1273–1276 (1968b).

    Google Scholar 

  • — — and W. C. Black: Increase in volitional ethanol consumption following interference with a learned avoidance response. Physiol. Behav. 3, 657–660 (1968).

    Google Scholar 

  • Davis, V. E., H. Brown, J. A. Huff, and J. L. Cashaw: The alteration of serotonin metabolism to 5-hydroxytryptophol by ethanol ingestion in man. J. Lab. clin. Med. 69, 132–140 (1967).

    Google Scholar 

  • Feldstein, A., H. Hoagland, H. Freeman, and O. Williamson: The effect of ethanol ingestion on serotonin-C14 metabolism in man. Life Sci. 6, 53–61 (1967).

    Google Scholar 

  • Gursey, D., and R. E. Olson: Depression of serotonin and norepinephrine levels in brain stem of rabbit by ethanol. Proc. Soc. exp. Biol. (N. Y.) 104, 280–281 (1960).

    Google Scholar 

  • Koe, B., and A. Weissman: p-Chlorophenylalanine: A specific depletor of brain serotonin. J. Pharmacol. exp. Ther. 154, 499–516 (1966).

    Google Scholar 

  • Myers, R. D.: Alcohol consumption in rats: Effects of intracranial injections of ethanol. Science 142, 240–241 (1963).

    Google Scholar 

  • —: Voluntary alcohol consumption in animals: Peripheral and intracerebral factors. Psychosom. Med. 28, 484–497 (1966).

    Google Scholar 

  • —: Ethyl alcohol consumption: Valid measurement in albino rats. Science 161, 76–77 (1968).

    Google Scholar 

  • —, and R. B. Holman: A procedure for eliminating position habit in preference-aversion tests for ethanol and other fluids. Psychon. Sci. 6, 235–236 (1966).

    Google Scholar 

  • —, and R. B. Holman: Failure of stress of electric shock to increase ethanol intake in rats. Quart. J. Stud. Alcohol 28, 132–137 (1967).

    Google Scholar 

  • —, and W. L. Veale: Alcohol preference in the rat: Reduction following depletion of brain serotonin. Science 160, 1469–1471 (1968).

    Google Scholar 

  • Pscheidt, G. R., B. Issekutz, and H. E. Himwich: Failure of ethanol to lower brain stem concentration of biogenic amines. Quart. J. Stud. Alcohol 22, 550–553 (1961).

    Google Scholar 

  • Rech, R. H., H. K. Borys, and K. E. Moore: Alterations in behavior and brain catecholamine levels in rats treated with α-methyltyrosine. J. Pharmacol. exp. Ther. 153, 412–419 (1966).

    Google Scholar 

  • Shore, P. A., A. Pletscher, E. Tomich, A. Carlsson, R. Kuntzman, and B. Brodie: Role of brain serotonin in reserpine actions. Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. 66, 609–617 (1957).

    Google Scholar 

  • Spector, S., A. Sjoerdsma, and S. Udenfriend: Blockade of endogenous norepinephrine synthesis by a-methyl-tyrosine, an inhibitor of tyrosine hydroxylase. J. Pharmacol. exp. Ther. 147, 86–95 (1965).

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Additional information

This research was supported in part by National Science Foundation Grant GB 7906, ONR Contract N-00014-67-A-0226-003 and by a grant from the Wallace Laboratories. We are indebted to P. Curzon and W. L. Veale for their assistance.

A part of the data in this paper was included in a Ph. D. dissertation by T. J. Cicero completed at Purdue University, August, 1968. Present address: Department of Psychiatry, Washington University School of Medicine, 4940 Audubon Avenue, St. Louis, Missouri 63110.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Myers, R.D., Cicero, T.J. Effects of serotonin depletion on the volitional alcohol intake of rats during a condition of psychological stress. Psychopharmacologia 15, 373–381 (1969). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00403712

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Revised:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00403712

Key-Words

Navigation