Genetic correlation between performance on an appetitive-signaled nosepoke task and voluntary ethanol consumption

Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 1998 Dec;22(9):1912-20.


The present study used a signaled appetitive nosepoke task as a measure of behavioral control or impulsivity related to reward system function in mice and determined how impulsivity correlated with voluntary ethanol consumption. Thirteen inbred strains were trained to nosepoke for food rewards and eventually trained to nosepoke for reward when an auditory signal was presented. Efficiency in the signaled nosepoke task indicated the ability of the mice to withhold the nosepoke response until the signal to respond for a reward was given and was considered indicative of behavioral control or impulsivity. After completion of the nosepoke task, the mice were tested for ethanol consumption in a three-bottle choice test at 3 and 10% (v/v) ethanol concentrations. Behavioral measures from the nosepoke task and ethanol consumption measures were correlated to determine a genetic relationship. High efficiency, the ability to withhold nosepoking until signaled, was negatively correlated with ethanol consumption. Thus, the strains who were better able to control their behavioral responding (i.e., less impulsive) consumed less ethanol, and strains who were more impulsive consumed more ethanol. This genetic relationship may be a mouse behavioral model for some of the neuropsychological traits demonstrated in human subjects who are family history-positive for alcoholism.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Drinking / genetics*
  • Alcoholic Intoxication / genetics
  • Animals
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease / genetics*
  • Genotype*
  • Humans
  • Impulsive Behavior / genetics*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Motivation*
  • Species Specificity