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Voluntary Alcohol-Intake and the Density of D2-receptors in Outbred Wistar Rats
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmaceutical Biosciences.
2015 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (professional degree), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The mechanism of action for alcohol on the brain is complex and a challenge to describe. It is known that alcohol affects the dopaminergic system, and in particular the D2-receptors. Studies also suggest that alcohol affects the two hemispheres differently. The use of animal models is critical in deepening our knowledge of the neurobiological effects of alcohol, but a limited amount of studies explore the effect of free-choice paradigms on the brain. The aims of this study were thus to study the long-term effects of a free-choice two-bottle paradigm with intermittent access to alcohol on the density of D2-receptors in rat brain, and to determine whether the effects of alcohol showed signs of lateralisation. 38 outbred, male, 20 weeks of age, Wistar rats were randomly divided into two groups. One group (n = 19) had access to two bottles of water only and was used as a control, and the other (n = 19) had intermittent access to a bottle with 20% (v/v) alcohol-solution and a bottle with water. The experiment was performed for seven weeks, and in order to determine the long-term effects, all rats only had access to water for eleven days at the end of the experiment. After the animal experimental procedure, the rats were killed and the distribution of D2-receptors in the brain was determined using [3H]-raclopride in an autoradiographic receptor binding assay. The obtained films were then densiometrically analysed using the computer software programme Image J. In order to determine possible lateralisation, the two hemispheres were also analysed separately. This study shows that alcohol leads to long-term effects on the density of D2-receptors in rat with signs of lateralisation. In order to further deepen our knowledge of the mechanism of action of alcohol on the brain, it would be interesting to study the effects of alcohol on other dopaminergic proteins as well, such as D1 and the dopamine transporter. It would also be interesting to study other neurotransmitter systems, such as the opioid or cannabinoid system. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Alcohol, self-administration, dopmine, D2, voluntary intake
National Category
Pharmacology and Toxicology
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-242661OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-242661DiVA: diva2:784472
Educational program
Master of Science Programme in Pharmacy
Available from: 2015-02-02 Created: 2015-01-29 Last updated: 2015-02-02Bibliographically approved

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