Models of Ethanol Reward and Aversion

Most studies examining genetic influences on ethanol reward have used behavioral procedures that fall into one of two categories: (a) self-administration models and (b) conditioning models. Self-administration models typically involve procedures in which animals have substantial control over their ethanol intake, including control over the amount (dose) and temporal pattern of intake. Within this category, it is useful to distinguish between relatively simple home-cage drinking procedures and procedures con-

From: Molecular Biology of Drug Addiction Edited by: R. Maldonado © Humana Press Inc., Totowa, NJ

ducted in operant chambers that require an explicit "seeking" response (e.g., bar pressing) to obtain ethanol. In contrast, conditioning models are characterized by experimenter administration of a fixed drug dose in combination with exposure to a gustatory (e.g., taste conditioning) or exteroceptive (e.g., place conditioning) stimulus. The value attached to this drug-paired stimulus is typically assessed in a test conducted without ethanol. Each of these models is briefly reviewed in the following subsections, with emphasis on issues of potential importance to interpretation of genetic studies described later. More comprehensive discussions of these and related behavioral models can be found elsewhere (3-6).

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