Voluntary ethanol consumption in 22 inbred mouse strains

Alcohol. 2008 May;42(3):149-60. doi: 10.1016/j.alcohol.2007.12.006. Epub 2008 Mar 20.


Inbred strains are genetically stable across time and laboratories, allowing scientists to accumulate a record of phenotypes, including physiological characteristics and behaviors. To date, the C57/C58 family of inbred mouse strains has been identified as having the highest innate ethanol consumption, but some lineages have rarely or never been surveyed. Thus, the purpose of the present experiment was to measure ethanol preference and intake in 22 inbred mouse strains, some of which have never been tested for ethanol consumption. Male and female mice (A/J, BALB/cByJ, BTBR+T(tf/tf), BUB/BnJ, C57BL/6J, C57BLKS/J, C58/J, CZECH/Ei, DBA/2J, FVB/NJ, I/LnJ, LP/J, MA/MyJ, NOD/LtJ, NON/LtJ, NZB/B1NJ, NZW/LacJ, PERA/Ei, RIIIS/J, SEA/GnJ, SM/J, and 129S1/SvlmJ) were individually housed and given unlimited access in a two-bottle choice procedure to one bottle containing tap water and a second containing increasing concentrations of ethanol (3%, 6%, 10%), 0.2% saccharin, and then increasing concentrations of ethanol (3%, 6%, 10%) plus 0.2% saccharin. Mice were given access to each novel solution for a total of 4 days, with a bottle side change every other day. Consistent with previous studies, C57BL/6J (B6) mice consumed an ethanol dose of >10g/kg/day whereas DBA/2J (D2) mice consumed <2g/kg/day. No strain voluntarily consumed greater doses of ethanol than B6 mice. Although the C58 and C57BLKS strains showed high ethanol consumption levels that were comparable to B6 mice, the BUB and BTBR strains exhibited low ethanol intakes similar to D2 mice. The addition of 0.2% saccharin to the ethanol solutions significantly increased ethanol intake by most strains and altered the strain distribution pattern. Strong positive correlations (rs> or =0.83) were determined between consumption of the unsweetened versus sweetened ethanol solutions. Consumption of saccharin alone was significantly positively correlated with the sweetened ethanol solutions (rs=0.62-0.81), but the correlation with unsweetened ethanol solutions was considerably lower (rs=0.37-0.45). These results add new strains to the strain mean database that will facilitate the identification of genetic relationships between voluntary ethanol consumption, saccharin preference, and other phenotypes.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Drinking / genetics*
  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology*
  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects
  • Central Nervous System Depressants / pharmacology
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Databases, Genetic
  • Ethanol / pharmacology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Phenotype
  • Saccharin / pharmacology
  • Sweetening Agents / pharmacology


  • Central Nervous System Depressants
  • Sweetening Agents
  • Ethanol
  • Saccharin