Abstract # 97:

Scheduled for Thursday, August 17, 2006 07:00 PM-09:00 PM: Session 8 (Regency West 1/3 ) Poster Presentation

Concurrent Environmental Enrichment and Ethanol Consumption in Socially-Housed Rhesus Macaques

W. W. Flint1, S. A. Chen1, K. E. Iba1, E. B. Davis2, S. J. Suomi3 and J. D. Higley1
1NIH/NIAAA-LCTS, NIH Animal Center, P.O. Box 529 Bldg 112 , Poolesville, CA 20837, USA, 2NIH/NICHD-RAMB, 3NIH/NICHD-LCE
     Findings from rodent studies of environmental enrichment (EE) and ethanol (EtOH) consumption are conflicting. Little is known about this relationship in nonhuman primates. The present study aimed to examine the effects of EE on EtOH consumption in adolescent, female rhesus macaques. EE consists of alternative activity and natural rewards, such as toys, varied foraging treats, and human interaction. Ss were trained to consume EtOH by first exposing them to an aspartame-vehicle. Thereafter, sufficient EtOH was added to produce an 8.4% EtOH water-aspartame solution, and Ss (n = 12) were allowed to drink the EtOH water-aspartame solution (1 hr/day; 4-5 consecutive days/week) for 3 months. Then Ss were tested for preference of EtOH versus vehicle in 1-hr sessions for 3 consecutive days per week across 8 alternating weeks of EE present or absent. ANOVA revealed a lack of EE effect on EtOH consumption in all Ss. However, there appeared to be a preference for EtOH in Ss that consistently consumed 10.5 ml/kg/hr EtOH (~0.7 g/kg/hr; n = 5), but not in Ss that consumed less than 0.1 g/kg/hr EtOH (n = 7). These findings show that Ss would continue to consume the drug despite the concurrent availability of alternative activity and natural rewards. The present drinking paradigm provides early evidence that concurrent EE does not affect EtOH consumption in socially-housed, female nonhuman primates.