The effects of continuous and intermittent ethanol exposure in adolesence on the aversive properties of ethanol during adulthood

Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2007 Dec;31(12):2020-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1530-0277.2007.00534.x.

Abstract

Background: Alcohol abuse among adolescents is prevalent. Epidemiological studies suggest that alcohol abuse during the adolescent developmental period may result in long-term changes such as an increased susceptibility to alcohol-related problems in adulthood. Laboratory findings suggest that alcohol exposure during the adolescent developmental period, as compared with adulthood, may differentially impact subsequent neurobehavioral responses to alcohol. The present study was designed to examine whether ethanol exposure, continuous versus intermittent, during the adolescent developmental period would alter the aversive properties of ethanol in adult C3H mice.

Methods: Periadolescent (PD28) male C3H mice were exposed to 64 hours of continuous or intermittent ethanol vapor. As a comparison, adult (PD70) C3H mice were also exposed to 64 hours of continuous or intermittent ethanol vapor. Six weeks after ethanol exposure, taste aversion conditioning was carried out on both ethanol pre-exposed and ethanol-naive animals using a 1-trial, 1-flavor taste-conditioning procedure.

Results: Ethanol exposure during the periadolescent period significantly attenuated a subsequent ethanol-induced conditioned taste aversion, as compared with control animals. Adult animals exposed to chronic ethanol vapor during adolescence showed less of an aversion to an ethanol-paired flavor than ethanol-naive adults. Intermittent exposure to ethanol vapor during periadolescence produced a greater attenuation.

Conclusion: It is suggested that ethanol exposure during the periadolescent period results in long-term neurobehavioral changes, which lessen a conditioned aversion to ethanol in adulthood. It is suggested that this age-related effect may underlie the increased susceptibility to alcohol-related problems which is negatively correlated with the age of onset for alcohol abuse.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Age Factors
  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology
  • Alcoholism / psychology
  • Animals
  • Association Learning
  • Avoidance Learning*
  • Conditioning, Classical*
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Ethanol / administration & dosage
  • Ethanol / blood
  • Ethanol / toxicity*
  • Habituation, Psychophysiologic
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C3H
  • Saccharin
  • Taste*

Substances

  • Ethanol
  • Saccharin