Pairing Binge Drinking and a High-Fat Diet in Adolescence Modulates the Inflammatory Effects of Subsequent Alcohol Consumption in Mice

Int J Mol Sci. 2021 May 17;22(10):5279. doi: 10.3390/ijms22105279.


Alcohol binge drinking (BD) and poor nutritional habits are two frequent behaviors among many adolescents that alter gut microbiota in a pro-inflammatory direction. Dysbiotic changes in the gut microbiome are observed after alcohol and high-fat diet (HFD) consumption, even before obesity onset. In this study, we investigate the neuroinflammatory response of adolescent BD when combined with a continuous or intermittent HFD and its effects on adult ethanol consumption by using a self-administration (SA) paradigm in mice. The inflammatory biomarkers IL-6 and CX3CL1 were measured in the striatum 24 h after BD, 3 weeks later and after the ethanol (EtOH) SA. Adolescent BD increased alcohol consumption in the oral SA and caused a greater motivation to seek the substance. Likewise, mice with intermittent access to HFD exhibited higher EtOH consumption, while the opposite effect was found in mice with continuous HFD access. Biochemical analyses showed that after BD and three weeks later, striatal levels of IL-6 and CX3CL1 were increased. In addition, in saline-treated mice, CX3CL1 was increased after continuous access to HFD. After oral SA procedure, striatal IL-6 was increased only in animals exposed to BD and HFD. In addition, striatal CX3CL1 levels were increased in all BD- and HFD-exposed groups. Overall, our findings show that adolescent BD and intermittent HFD increase adult alcohol intake and point to neuroinflammation as an important mechanism modulating this interaction.

Keywords: alcohol; binge; binge drinking; cytokines; high-fat diet; inflammation; microbiota.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Alcohol Drinking / immunology
  • Alcohol Drinking / metabolism*
  • Alcohol Drinking / prevention & control
  • Animals
  • Animals, Outbred Strains
  • Binge Drinking / metabolism
  • Binge Drinking / physiopathology*
  • Chemokine CXCL1 / metabolism
  • Diet, High-Fat
  • Ethanol / pharmacology
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Interleukin-6 / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Obesity
  • Self Administration / methods


  • Chemokine CXCL1
  • Interleukin-6
  • Ethanol