Abstract # 198:

Scheduled for Saturday, August 19, 2006 08:00 AM-08:30 AM: Session 17 (Regency East #1) Oral Presentation

Variables affecting nonhuman primate alcohol intake: twenty years of experience with alcohol-consuming monkeys

J. Higley1,2
1NIH Animal Center, P.O. Box 529, Bldg 112, Room 205, Poolesville, MD 20837-0529, USA, 2Section for the Study of Primate Models of Psychopathology, LCTS
     After testing nearly 500 rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta), it is clear that like humans, when an alcohol solution is palatable, most male and female subjects will consume alcohol at some level, with most consuming between 1 and 2 drinks per setting. However, when alcohol is freely available for an hour each day, about 15-25% consume at rates that produce blood alcohol levels that exceed the legal limit for intoxication in most states. A number of risk factors for intoxicating intake have been identified. Subjects reared without adults are at higher risk to consume to intoxication. Males consume more than females per kg/body weight when they drink alone, but not when they are in social groups. Subjects who are asocial, spending more time alone and who show high levels of anxiety are particularly prone to high intake. Measures of impulsivity may underlie risk in some subjects. A number of biochemical antecedents have also been identified as mediating high intake, such as impaired central serotonin and norepinephrine, as measured by low CSF 5-HIAA and MHPG concentrations respectively. High levels of cortisol and HPA activity early in life in response to stress are particularly predictive of intoxicating intake during adolescence. Many of these variables have been shown to interact with genetic background, with gene X environment, and gender X gene interactions playing important roles in mediating intoxicating intake.