Ethanol reinforcement and its relationship to saccharin preference in Wistar rats

S. Michael Bell, Blake A. Gosnell, Dean D. Krahn, Richard A. Meisch

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43 Scopus citations


Forty rats were given a choice between 0.1% sodium saccharin and water. Based on their intakes, three groups of six rats representing high, intermediate, and low saccharin preferences were selected. These rats were reduced to 80% of their free-feeding weights. Ethanol was established as a reinforcer by use of a food-induced drinking procedure. Between-group differences were assessed based on response rates across acquisition sessions (0, 1, 2, 4, 5.7, 8%, w/v), a fixed-ratio series (1, 2, 4, 8, 1), and a concentration series (8, 5.7, 4, 2, 2, 4, 5.7, 8, 11.3, 16, 22.6, 32, 8%, w/v). In 29 of 32 conditions which were analyzed, the mean number of responses for ethanol was higher for the high saccharin preference group than for the low, and in 25 of 32 conditions, the intermediate group fell between the high and the low. However, there was considerable variability within groups across all conditions, such that mean between-group differences were not significant. This variability may be reduced by considering diet preferences in addition to saccharin preference. Nonetheless, these results offer limited support for the increasing body of evidence indicating a relationship between the factors mediating ethanol self-administration and those involving ingestion of palatable foods and fluids.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-145
Number of pages5
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1994

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The research was supported by grant DA 06827 from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. R.A.M. is the recipient of Research Scientist Award DA 00159 from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The authors wish to thank David Averbach, Lisa Haymes, and Sara Rizvi for their expert technical assistance.


  • Acquisition
  • Alcohol
  • Concentration-response
  • Ethanol
  • Fixed ratio
  • Saccharin preference
  • Self-administration
  • Taste preference
  • Wistar rats


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