Drinking in the Dark: Voluntary Co-Consumption of Nicotine and Alcohol for Binge-like Drinking Behavior in Mice

Katherine Benson Butler University
Faculty Sponsor(s): Jennifer Berry Butler University
Alcohol and nicotine are drugs widely abused independently and co-dependently across the United States, but the nature of their co-morbid abuse is still unclear. Our study seeks to add to the knowledge on this subject by using a voluntary co­-consumption model with nicotine and alcohol to induce binge-­like drinking behavior in mice using the drinking in the dark (DID) model of consumption. We used a 2 bottle choice paradigm, with one bottle of water and one experimental bottle that contained nicotine (5-30 μg/ml), alcohol (3-20% v/v), nicotine+alcohol, or water. Adult C57BL/6J mice (20 male, 20 female) had access to the substance of interest for 4 hours within their dark, or active, period in a 24-hour cycle. Plasma corticosterone levels were measured at baseline and 24 hours after withdrawal of the substances (n=16). The marble burying task was done as a behavioral measure of anxiety-like withdrawal symptoms (n=24). For consumption and preference data, we conducted a series of 2 (sex: male vs. female) X 4 (concentration) mixed-factor ANOVAs. Contrary to our prediction that consumption and preference should increase with concentration, we did not find significant results or trends. Behavioral withdrawal signs were analyzed using a 2 (sex) X 4 (group: water, alcohol, nicotine, and alcohol+nicotine) between subjects ANOVA. We saw a trend towards significance in the main effect of sex on anxiety-like withdrawal symptoms. The present study contributes to the knowledge surrounding co-morbid alcohol and nicotine dependence in hopes to better understand this addiction.
Oral Presentation

When & Where

10:45 AM
Pharmacy & Health Sciences 156