Acute mild footshock alters ethanol drinking and plasma corticosterone levels in C57BL/6J male mice, but not DBA/2J or A/J male mice


Stress is an often-reported cause for alcohol consumption in humans. Acute intermittent footshock is a frequently used paradigm to produce stress in laboratory animals including mice. The effect produced by intermittent footshock stress on ethanol self-administration has been inconsistent: both increases and decreases in ethanol consumption have been reported. The current set of studies further investigates, in three commonly studied mouse strains, the effect of footshock stress on ethanol self-administration. Furthermore, the effect of footshock on plasma corticosterone levels was determined to investigate potential biochemical correlates. Adult male C57BL/6J, DBA/2J, and A/J mice were allowed to self-administer 10% (wt/vol) ethanol for 12 days in a standard 23-h two-bottle paradigm before receiving either 15 min of mild inescapable footshock or no footshock. Shock intensity was equal to the mean intensity at which each strain vocalized as previously determined. Following footshock, animals had the opportunity to self-administer ethanol for an additional 23 h. Separate animals were subjected to either footshock or no shock prior to collection of plasma for corticosterone. Mild footshock stress altered ethanol self-administration and increased plasma corticosterone levels in C57BL/6J mice. Footshock stress did not alter ethanol self-administration or plasma corticosterone levels in DBA/2J or A/J mice. These data demonstrate that mild footshock stress is a suboptimal method of modeling the stress-induced increases in ethanol consumption often reported by humans. © 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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