Stress and Nutrition During Alcohol Dependence And Withdrawal: A Rat Model
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During attempts to achieve and maintain sobriety, humans with a history of alcohol dependence struggle with symptoms including stress hypersensitivity and eating disruption. Rat models can help to develop treatment protocols that ease symptoms and thus increase the likelihood of success. The present study examined: how protracted alcohol exposure affects chow consumption and body weight; withdrawal stress; and whether exposure to caffeine and sucrose would reduce withdrawal stress. Subjects were drawn from specially bred Occidental College High- (HiS) and Low-Saccharin Consuming (LoS) rat lines. We examined whether food intake would change during forced-choice, repeated exposure to alcohol. During withdrawal, we observed whether rats would choose a caffeine/sucrose solution over a pharmacologically inert solution and effects of choice on acoustic startle, a measure of emotionality. Differences between HiS and LoS lines in these effects were of interest.