Anxiety During Alcohol Withdrawal in Rats: An Adenosine Hypothesis
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Alcohol and caffeine are the two most widely used drugs in the world. Adenosine blocking chemicals, such as caffeine and theophylline, reduce anxiety during ethanol withdrawal (Gatch et al., 1999; Kovacs et al., 2002). Whether the effectiveness of caffeine differs between low- and high-stress susceptible animals is not known. The present study involved rats bred for differential saccharin intake, which also differ in stress tolerance. After two weeks of alcohol exposure, the rats were given either water or a choice of between caffeine/sucrose and another bitter/sweet control solution. This was done for two reasons: to see whether rats would consume caffeine to cope with withdrawal, and whether doing so would reduce withdrawal anxiety, measured as acoustic startle magnitude. We predict that caffeine consumption will ease the effects of withdrawal, more so in the stress-susceptible rat line.