ABSTRACT Alcohol addiction constitutes a major health problem in the general population, it is a complex pathology characterized by the development of tolerance, physical dependence and compulsive ethanol-seeking behaviour that often manifests as a chronic relapsing syndrome. 0ne of the major concerns in the treatment of alcohol-dependent patients is the prevention of relapse during periods of abstinence. The alcohol deprivation effect (ADE) is defined as a temporary increase in the voluntary intake of ethanol when it is reinstated after a period of alcohol deprivation and has been used as an animal model of relapse-like drinking. ADE can be used to evaluate the efficacy of possible pharmacological agents to prevent relapse drinking. The current study was undertaken to examine whether the high-alcohol-drinker UChB rats would display an ADE. Rats were given either continuous or periodic concurrent access to 10, 20% (vol/vol) of ethanol across deprivation cycles. UChB rats consuming ethanol voluntarily for two months, exhibit a robust ADE after a single deprivation period of two weeks. The increased alcohol intake during the early days of re-exposure, following a withdrawal phase, is attributed to a shift in preference towards the higher concentration of ethanol that might reflect an increase in craving for alcohol. Since an ADE is also observed in UChB rats, make this line of rats selectively bred for their high voluntary ethanol consumption, a useful model for study the efficacy of pharmacological agents for the treatment of relapse of alcohol consumption.
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