New strain of lab mice mimics human alcohol consumption patterns
Nicholas Grahame, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology in the School of Science at IUPUI, and School of Science doctoral student Liana M. Matson conduct research to gain a better understanding of the basic brain mechanism involved in alcohol consumption as well as greater insight into the toxic effects of alcohol on the brain, with the goal of developing therapies. Credit: School of Science at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
A line of laboratory mice developed by a researcher from the School of Science at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis drinks more alcohol than other animal models and consumes it in a fashion similar to humans: choosing alcohol over other options and binge drinking.
Animal models previously available to alcohol abuse and alcoholism researchers do not get as drunk as the new strain, unless alcohol is the only choice of fluids, or alcohol is administered by the experimenter. When given the option, previously bred mouse lines continue to drink water even when they can select alcohol.
These new mice, selectively bred over 40 generations at the School of Science at IUPUI to prefer alcohol over all other choices, will help researchers explore new aspects of the behavioral and genetic determinants of alcoholism.
In a study published online ahead of print in the journal Addiction Biology on Nov. 29, senior author Nicholas Grahame, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology in the School of Science at IUPUI, reports on the mice he has bred since 1997. The rodents reach blood-alcohol levels of more than 260 mg/dl of alcohol daily, over three times the equivalent of the human legal driving limit and the approximate consumption level that the severest human alcoholics attain.
"The free-choice drinking demonstrated by the new mouse line provides a unique opportunity to study the excessive intake that often occurs in alcohol-dependent individuals and to explore the predisposing factors for excessive consumption, as well as the development of physiological, behavioral and toxicological outcomes following alcohol exposure," says Grahame, who is a biopsychologist specializing in alcoholism.
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, part of the National Institutes of Health, an estimated 17.6 million Americans abuse alcohol or are alcohol dependent. Alcohol abuse and alcoholism can be treated but cannot be cured.
Mice share 80 percent of their genes with humans, so they are an excellent model to study alcoholism, a disease with a strong genetic component. The risk of developing alcoholism is known to be influenced by lifestyle. Animal models allow researchers to employ methods that they are unable to use in humans.
"This line of high-alcohol-seeking mice should be able to give us a better understanding of the basic brain mechanism involved in alcohol consumption as well as greater insight into the toxic effects on the brain, with the goal of developing therapies," said Grahame, whose research focuses on behavioral genetics and behavioral pharmacology.
As with humans, the mice become intoxicated when the pace of alcohol consumption is faster than the liver can eliminate it. Typically it takes six or seven hours of continuous alcohol drinking for the new strain of mice to reach the highest levels of intoxication.
Doctoral candidate Liana M. Matson is a co-author of the study. She has conducted research focusing on when the mice drink and determined that they are nocturnal drinkers. This knowledge enabled the mice's blood-alcohol levels to be tested when at their highest level.
Undergraduate School of Science students Amy Buckingham and Nick Villalta assisted in the research by measuring intake and blood-alcohol levels in the new strain of high-alcohol-seeking mice. In a related study, they analyzed how drunk the mice became by testing how they performed on a balance beam.
Provided by Indiana University
- Genes relate to level of alcohol consumption among Asians Mar 30, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Heredity behind subjective effects of alcohol May 23, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Study reveals new alcoholic genes Apr 18, 2006 | not rated yet | 0
- Research shows a link between alcoholism and memory Sep 10, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- Scientists identify gene that influences alcohol consumption Dec 05, 2007 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
How can there be a term called "intestinal metaplasia" of stomach
3 hours ago Hello everyone, Ok Stomach's normal epithelium is simple columnar, now in intestinal type of adenocarcinoma of stomach it undergoes "intestinal...
Pressure-volume curve: Elastic Recoil Pressure don't make sense
May 18, 2013 From pressure-volume curve of the lung and chest wall (attached photo), I don't understand why would the elastic recoil pressure of the lung is...
If you became brain-dead, would you want them to pull the plug?
May 17, 2013 I'd want the rest of me to stay alive. Sure it's a lousy way to live but it beats being all-the-way dead. Maybe if I make it 20 years they'll...
MRI bill question
May 15, 2013 Dear PFers, The hospital gave us a $12k bill for one MRI (head with contrast). The people I talked to at the hospital tell me that they do not...
Ratio of Hydrogen of Oxygen in Dessicated Animal Protein
May 13, 2013 As an experiment, for the past few months I've been consuming at least one portion of Jell-O or unflavored Knox gelatin per day. I'm 64, in very...
Alcohol and acetaminophen
May 13, 2013 Edit: sorry for the typo in the title , can't edit I looked around on google quite a bit and it's very hard to find precise information on the...
- More from Physics Forums - Medical Sciences
More news stories
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine will study gender differences in how the heart uses and stores fat—its main energy source—and how changes in fat metabolism play ...
Medical research 1 hour ago | not rated yet | 0
Nearly 20 percent of kidneys that are recovered from deceased donors in the U.S. are refused for transplant due to factors ranging from scarring in small blood vessels of the kidney's filtering units to the organ going too ...
Medical research 17 hours ago | 5 / 5 (2) | 0 |
Discovery of circadian clock in mice hair reveals period of time when damage from radiotherapy can be quickly repaired
Discovering that mouse hair has a circadian clock - a 24-hour cycle of growth followed by restorative repair - researchers suspect that hair loss in humans from toxic cancer radiotherapy and chemotherapy ...
Medical research 18 hours ago | 5 / 5 (2) | 1 |
Salamanders' immune systems are key to their remarkable ability to regrow limbs, and could also underpin their ability to regenerate spinal cords, brain tissue and even parts of their hearts, scientists have ...
Medical research 18 hours ago | 4.9 / 5 (7) | 4 |
New research from the University of Southampton has shown that blind and visually impaired people have the potential to use echolocation, similar to that used by bats and dolphins, to determine the location of an object.
Medical research 21 hours ago | not rated yet | 1 |
In a remote fishing community in Venezuela, a lone fisherman sits on a cliff overlooking the southern Caribbean Sea. This man –– the lookout –– is responsible for directing his comrades on the water, ...
35 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0 |
A novel approach to obstructing the runaway inflammatory response implicated in some types of asthma has shown promise in a Phase IIa clinical trial, according to U. S. researchers.
29 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
Authorities are investigating rice mills in southern China following tests that found almost half of the staple grain in one of the country's largest cities was contaminated with a toxic metal.
34 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
Scientists from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and Lund University, Sweden, have bioengineered a novel molecule which has been proven to successfully kill tumour cells.
44 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
Regardless of pain, social class or age, a woman is more likely to be prescribed pain-relieving drugs. A study published in Gaceta Sanitaria (Spanish health scientific journal) affirms that this phenomenon is inf ...
54 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0