Conditioned activation induced by ethanol: role in sensitization and conditioned place preference

Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 1992 Sep;43(1):307-13. doi: 10.1016/0091-3057(92)90673-4.


Previous studies of ethanol-induced activation and place preference conditioning have shown that repeated exposure to ethanol produces sensitization to ethanol's locomotor activating effect in mice. This experiment was designed to determine whether the behavioral sensitization to ethanol that occurs during place preference conditioning is due to development of a Pavlovian conditioned activity response. Mice (DBA/2J) in the experimental group (BEFORE) received four pairings of a distinctive floor stimulus with ethanol (2 g/kg, IP); a different floor stimulus was paired with saline (counterbalanced). Mice in two control groups were exposed equally to each floor stimulus and were handled and injected as often as experimental mice. One control group (AFTER) always received ethanol in the home cage 1 h after exposure to the floor stimulus, while the other control group (NO-DRUG) never received ethanol during conditioning. BEFORE group mice showed a significant conditioned place preference, whereas control mice did not. Activity tests after saline or ethanol indicated higher activity levels in BEFORE mice compared to control mice, regardless of floor stimulus. Moreover, BEFORE mice were more active on their CS+ floor than on their CS- floor during saline tests; activity was equally elevated on both floors during ethanol tests. These results support the hypothesis that sensitization to ethanol's activating effect is mediated by Pavlovian conditioning. Further, they suggest that place conditioning established-associative control by two kinds of stimuli; the specific tactile cues serving as CS+ and CS- and the general environmental cues common to both CS+ and CS- trials.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Choice Behavior / drug effects
  • Conditioning, Operant / drug effects*
  • Ethanol / pharmacology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred DBA
  • Motor Activity / drug effects


  • Ethanol