, Volume 109, Issue 1–2, pp 112–120 | Cite as

Tolerance to ethanol's effects on operant performance in rats: role of number and pattern of intoxicated practice opportunities

  • Frank A. Holloway
  • Ron C. Michaelis
  • Richard D. Harland
  • José R. Criado
  • David V. Gauvin
Original Investigations


Acquisition and retention of tolerance to ethanol's rate-decreasing effects on operant performance were examined in rats which received a 52-day regimen of ethanol or saline injections prior to and/or after each daily session. Eight groups of rats differed on: (a) number of days with intoxicated practice (pre-session ethanol); (b) intermittent (spaced) or daily (massed) intoxicated practice; and (c) post-session ethanol or saline on nonintoxicated practice days. Massed practice groups were given their presession saline days prior to their pre-session ethanol days. Ethanol dose-effect tests were given prior to, during, and after the chronic injection regimen. Under both spaced and massed practice conditions, the magnitude of tolerance developed increased directly with the number of pre-session ethanol days, even when absolute ethanol exposure was constant. No group showed complete tolerance loss. The post-session ethanol supplements (a) facilitated tolerance development in spaced practice groups and tolerance loss in massed practice groups, (b) blocked ethanol's low dose rate-increasing effects, and (c) produced an acute withdrawal-like performance disruption the next day. The results suggest that both intoxicated practice and practice during acute ethanol withdrawal influence the acquisition and retention of compensatory behaviors during ethanol tolerance development.

Key words

Ethanol Operant performance Tolerance Intoxicated practice Compensatory behaviors Acute ethanol withdrawal 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frank A. Holloway
    • 1
  • Ron C. Michaelis
    • 1
  • Richard D. Harland
    • 1
  • José R. Criado
    • 1
  • David V. Gauvin
    • 1
  1. 1.Psychobiology Laboratories, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesUniversity of Oklahoma, Health Sciences CenterOklahoma CityUSA

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