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Different dopamine tone in ethanol high- and low-consuming Wistar rats

Journal article
Authors Mia Ericson
Lisa Ulenius
Anna Andrén
Susanne Jonsson
Louise Adermark
Bo Söderpalm
Published in Addiction Biology
Volume 2019
ISSN 1355-6215
Publication year 2019
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology
Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Psychiatry and Neurochemistry
Language - English
Subject categories Neurosciences


- Excessive alcohol use causes considerable morbidity and mortality worldwide. Changes in the mesolimbic dopamine system have been postulated as a neurobiological underpinning of excessive alcohol consumption, and recent research also suggests that the amino acid taurine plays a central role in ethanol-induced dopamine elevation. The aim of this study was to further outline the role of dopamine and taurine in regulating alcohol consumption. In this study, a choice between ethanol (20%) and water was administered to Wistar rats in an intermittent manner (three times/week) for seven consecutive weeks. In vivo microdialysis was used to explore baseline levels as well as ethanol-induced increases of extracellular dopamine and taurine, in the nucleus accumbens (nAc) of Wistar rats voluntarily consuming large or small amounts of ethanol. Basal levels of taurine were also measured in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and serum in a subset of rats. Ethanol-induced increases in nAc dopamine and taurine did not differ between alcohol-consuming and naïve rats. However, when categorized based on ethanol intake, rats consuming larger amounts of ethanol exhibited a lower dopamine tone in the nucleus accumbens and responded to ethanol with a slower elevation of extracellular taurine levels, as compared with low-consuming animals. Basal levels of taurine in nAc, CSF, or serum did not differ between ethanol high- and low-consuming rats. Our data support previous studies claiming an association between low endogenous dopamine levels and excessive alcohol intake. © 2019 Society for the Study of Addiction

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