Abstract # 213:

Scheduled for Saturday, August 20, 2005 11:00 AM-11:15 AM: Session 15 (Parliament Room) Oral Presentation


A. J. Bennett1, K. Szeliga1, P. J. Pierre1, S. J. Suomi2, D. P. Friedman1 and K. A. Grant1
1Wake Forest Univ School of Medicine, Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, & Department of Pediatrics, Medical Center Blvd, Winston-Salem, NC 27157, USA, 2Laboratory of Comparative Ethology, NICHD, NIH, Pooleville, MD.
     Growing evidence suggests that early adverse experiences alter stress reactivity and increase vulnerability to excessive alcohol consumption as an adult. Previous studies have shown that nursery-reared monkeys have high consumption of a sweetened ethanol solution later in life. To date, however, no studies have examined drinking behavior over a period of time sufficient for entrenched and excessive patterns of ethanol consumption to emerge. In this study, we examined the pattern of voluntary oral unsweetened ethanol self-administration in eight young adult rhesus monkeys, four that were nursery-reared and four mother-reared. These animals were trained to use an operant panel to self-administer ethanol. Four months of induction with increasing doses of ethanol (water, 0.5, 1.0, 1.5 g/kg) was followed by 6-months of free access to ethanol for 22hr/7/days/week. No group differences were evident during the initial month of ad libitum ethanol self-administration; however, nursery-reared monkeys were significantly heavier drinkers (M = 3.19g/kg, SE = 0.42) than their mother-reared counterparts (M = 2.06g/kg, SE = 0.26) after 5 months of drinking, Mann-Whitney U = 6.00, P = 0.04. These data show that nursery-reared rhesus monkeys drink significantly more ethanol than mother-reared monkeys and demonstrate that their increased ethanol consumption is sustained over an extended period of daily drinking. Together with previous results, these findings suggest that early adverse experiences in nonhuman primates are a significant risk factor for vulnerability to increased ethanol consumption. Supported by NIAAA grants #AA13510; AA013995.