Predicting alcohol drinking pattern in addicted rats

Sandra Helinski

There are numerous studies in the preclinical alcohol research field showing that
pharmacological interventions and many other manipulations can influence ethanol (EtOH) consumption
in a free-choice paradigm in rats. Most of these studies are based on 24-hour measurements. These
studies provide a measure of the total amount of EtOH consumed per day, but do not provide information
on the drinking patterns within this period of measurement. Here, we used high resolution longitudinal measurements with Fourier analysis to provide detailed information on drinking patterns.
Under baseline conditions, voluntary EtOH consumption in rats can be expressed as characteristic
oscillations that follow diurnal activity and differ in their amplitude, depending on the EtOH
concentration. This diurnal drinking rhythmicity was altered during a relapse condition. Furthermore,
drugs given during the ADE may affect the drinking frequency or the number of
approaches to the EtOH bottles when compared to vehicle-treated animals.
In conclusion, the use of the drinkometer system and mathematical modeling allows the characterization
of treatment effects on relapse-like drinking with a great level of detail. One use of such detailed
information may lie in its translational predictability.