Attention, impulsivity, and cognitive flexibility in adult male rats exposed to ethanol binge during adolescence as measured in the five-choice serial reaction time task: the effects of task and ethanol challenges
Alcohol abuse is prevalent in adolescent humans, but the long-term behavioral consequences of binge alcohol drinking are unknown.
This study investigated the long-term effects of adolescent intermittent ethanol (AIE) exposure on attention and impulsivity.
Adolescent male rats were exposed to 5 g/kg of 25% (v/w) ethanol every 8 h for 4 days. During adulthood, rats were tested in the five-choice serial reaction time task (5-CSRTT) assessing attention, impulsivity and cognitive flexibility.
There was no metabolic tolerance to ethanol in adolescent rats during AIE exposure. In the 5-CSRTT under baseline conditions, there were no differences between AIE-exposed and control rats in accuracy, omissions, or premature responses, although AIE-exposed rats tended to make more timeout responses than control rats. The short-duration stimulus challenge decreased accuracy and increased omissions and timeout responses in both AIE-exposed and control rats. The long intertrial interval challenge increased premature responses in all rats. An ethanol challenge decreased correct responses, and increased omissions in control, but not in AIE-exposed, rats. Control, but not AIE-exposed, rats exhibited decreased premature and timeout responses after ethanol administration. Response latencies were not affected in AIE-exposed or control rats indicating no sedative effects of ethanol challenge.
The results indicate that ethanol binge exposure during adolescence has long-lasting neurobehavioral consequences, which persist into adulthood and can be revealed after re-exposure to ethanol. AIE-induced diminished responses to the disruptive effects of ethanol on attention, impulsivity and cognitive flexibility may lead to increased alcohol drinking and other maladaptive behaviors in adulthood.
KeywordsFive-choice serial reaction time task Sustained attention Cognitive flexibility Alcohol Ethanol binge Wistar rats
- De Bellis MD, Narasimhan A, Thatcher DL, Keshavan MS, Soloff P, Clark DB (2005) Prefrontal cortex, thalamus, and cerebellar volumes in adolescents and young adults with adolescent-onset alcohol use disorders and comorbid mental disorders. Alcohol Clin Exp Res 29:1590–1600PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Hingson RW, Zha W, Weitzman ER (2009) Magnitude of and trends in alcohol-related mortality and morbidity among U.S. college students ages 18–24, 1998–2005. J Stud Alcohol Drugs Suppl: 12–20Google Scholar
- O’Malley PM, Johnston LD (2002) Epidemiology of alcohol and other drug use among American college students. J Stud Alcohol Suppl: 23–39Google Scholar
- Silvers JM, Tokunaga S, Mittleman G, O’Buckley T, Morrow AL, Matthews DB (2006) Chronic intermittent ethanol exposure during adolescence reduces the effect of ethanol challenge on hippocampal allopregnanolone levels and Morris water maze task performance. Alcohol 39:151–158PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar