The alcohol deprivation effect in the alcohol-preferring P rat under free-drinking and operant access conditions

Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 1998 Aug;22(5):1170-6.


The alcohol-deprivation effect (ADE) was examined under 4-hr operant and 24-hr free-choice alcohol access in the alcohol-preferring (P) rat after deprivation intervals from 2 to 4 weeks. Results indicated that adult male P rats responding for 6 weeks on a concurrent FR-5/FR-1 schedule of reinforcement for alcohol and water, respectively, and then deprived of alcohol for 2 weeks, demonstrated a 40% increase in alcohol responding during the first 60 min of alcohol reinstatement. The alcohol deprivation effect was temporary, however, as responding did not differ from baseline levels on the second day of reinstatement. In a second experiment, weanling male and female P rats received 7 weeks of continuous access to alcohol, beginning at 21 days of age, and were then deprived of alcohol for 4 weeks. On the first day of alcohol reinstatement, P rats exhibited a 40% to 45% increase from baseline alcohol drinking levels, with alcohol intake returning to baseline levels by the 3rd day of reinstatement. Although alcohol intake was higher in females than in males when adjustment was made for body weight, there were no gender differences in the magnitude of the alcohol deprivation effect. Taken together, these results indicate that the ADE is a long-lasting phenomenon that occurs under both operant and continuous access conditions in the P rat, and thus these rats may be useful models for the study of factors involved in relapse of alcohol drinking.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology*
  • Alcohol Withdrawal Delirium / psychology*
  • Animals
  • Conditioning, Operant*
  • Female
  • Male
  • Motivation*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Reinforcement Schedule
  • Temperance / psychology